3 flights to Vancouver possibly exposed to COVID-19

Three recent flights through Vancouver International Airport have been flagged by the provincial health officials after an undisclosed number of “affected seats” may have been exposed to COVID-19.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control added the following flights to its list of affected flights:

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  • Air Canada Flight 217 (formally 8737) from Saskatoon to Vancouver on June 16
  • Air Canada Flight 557 from Los Angeles to Vancouver on June 18
  • Flair Flight 8102 from Toronto to Vancouver on June 21

The new listing did not specify which seats were affected on the flights, a move which triggers a recommendation that any passengers aboard the flight “self-isolate and monitor for symptoms for 14 days after the flight.”

Travellers arriving to B.C. from outside of Canada are already required to file a 14-day self-isolation plan upon their return. However, that policy does not extend to passengers arriving on domestic flights from other Canadian provinces. 

The new flagged flight listings come within days of provincial health officials expressing concern over airlines’ plans to reduce physical distancing measures effective July 1. 

On Tuesday, Health Minister Adrian Dix said he would like to hear from federal agencies as to why they have allowed Air Canada and WestJet to end seat-distancing policies to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the airline in-flight distancing policy does not fall under her jurisdiction, but she assumes there is evidence to support the move. She said it’s “incredibly important” that passengers wear a mask while travelling, adding: “We also feel that physical distance is an important part of that as well.”

— Cindy E. Harnett/Times Colonist




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