FILE – A worker picks up a COVID-19 self collection test kit which are given to arriving international passengers at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, July 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

FILE – A worker picks up a COVID-19 self collection test kit which are given to arriving international passengers at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Friday, July 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

No Omicron-specific restrictions planned as B.C. tests 200+ travellers from affected regions

COVID variant has sparked concerns over its transmissibility, vaccine resistance

The province is having just over 200 recent travellers from the southern African countries where Omicron has been spreading undergo PCR testing.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said Monday (Nov. 29) that of the 900-1,000 recent arrivals from those countries, 204 came to B.C. prior to Canada enacting a travel ban in response to the new variant.

Four cases of the Omicron variant have now been discovered in Canada, all in Ontario. The new variant, first detected in South Africa but with cases already found across Europe, Australia and in Canada, sparked concern from the World Health Organization over fears it may be more transmissible and more resistant to current vaccines.

Health officials have urged British Columbians to get vaccinated and follow public health rules as their best protection against Omicron.

Booster dose programs have been rolling out across the country and in B.C., Dix said that over 400,000 people, including 40 per cent of those over 70 years old, have received their booster.

Dix said there are currently no plans for the province to escalate its booster shot program, which would see all British Columbians ages 18 and up eligible for their third dose six to eight months after they receive their second.

The health minister said there were also no plans to bring in new Omicron-specific restrictions. Currently, Northern Health, Interior Health and the eastern part of Fraser Health have additional COVID-19 restrictions, while the rest of B.C. is at full capacity for venues that require proof of vaccinations. Face masks continue to be mandatory for indoor settings.

READ MORE: Travel restrictions amid Omicron variant strand Canadian field hockey team


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