Dr Bonnie Henry is expected to announce the plan today for gradually easing public health restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. The most recent public health orders related to gatherings, events, bars and restaurants, for example, were set to expire on Wednesday and Dr. Henry has said she would announce any changes a day earlier. She also said last month that people could expect some restrictions on social gatherings to be gradually lifted by next Monday, which marks Family Day. She said the easing of restrictions would be possible in part because 90 per cent of B-C residents aged 12 and over have received two doses of vaccine, though she added more people need to get a booster shot.
B-C has reported another 17 deaths linked to COVID-19 over three days, while the number of people in hospital has ticked down to 803. The province recorded just over 27-hundred new cases of the illness, but officials have said the number is likely much higher since B.C. has reached its testing capacity. The Health Ministry says there were no new health-care facility outbreaks over the weekend, with most of the 39 active outbreaks in long-term care homes.
Conservative interim leader Candice Bergen says she will look deeper into the Emergencies Act invoked yesterday by the federal government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked the Act for the first time in Canadian history, as a measure against convoy protests. The Act gives the federal government the power to ban public gatherings in specific areas, take control of public services it deems necessary to deal with the situation, and issue fines and jail time to those who breach public orders. This is the first time the Emergencies Act has ever been invoked since its creation in the 1980s. It replaced the War Measures Act, which was invoked by former prime minister and Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, for the October Crisis, when politicians were being kidnapped.
As gas prices in Metro Vancouver soar to record-breaking highs, one expert says there’s no relief in sight. The price at local pumps hit nearly one dollar and 81 cents per litre yesterday and petroleum analyst Dan McTeague says it could increase by a couple of cents later this week as the price of crude oil reaches its highest point in seven years. He says the price of oil per barrel has jumped from 75 U-S dollars to 93, and it could soon rise to 100, leading to another round of price increases at the pump. McTeague says prices above one dollar and 80 cents per litre could become “the new normal” in Vancouver and likely reach two dollars.
The RCMP is investigating after so-called “freedom convoy” protesters gathered at an Okanagan high school where one woman was filmed shouting racist insults and hurling slurs at students. Two Secondary schools in Osoyoos and Oliver were targeted by protesters opposing vaccine mandates and COVID-19 restrictions Friday as students were leaving for the weekend. The video posted to social media shows some of what happened…A woman is heard screaming at a student who is a person a color “I have a right to be in this country, do you?” Officials confirm the adult in the video has been reported to the RCMP.
Participants of Vancouver’s Women’s Memorial March have torn down a statue of “Gassy Jack” in Gastown on Monday. Indigenous leaders have previously called for the statue to be replaced, saying the namesake is a symbol of oppression. Video of the statue being torn down shows demonstrators holding up red dresses, representative of missing and murdered Indigenous women, as they pulled on ropes tied to the statue’s neck. After a few seconds of pulling, the statue began to wobble before it crashed to the ground. Later in the day, police announced they would be investigating the incident as “mischief.”
Canadian long-track speedskaters won the gold medal in the women’s team pursuit after beating Japan in a thrilling final this morning at the Beijing Olympics. It was the second gold medal and 17th medal overall for Canada at the Games.
People will be allowed to dance again at nightclubs and bars as the province moves to lift more COVID-19 restrictions starting at 11:59 tomorrow night. Capacity limits are also being dropped for those venues as well as restaurants, fitness centres, theatres, sporting events and indoor and outdoor gatherings, including weddings. But provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says mask mandates and the proof of COVID-19 vaccination program will remain in place for now. Henry says B-C isn’t out of the pandemic and remaining restrictions are expected to be reviewed by March 15th and again by April 12th, before the Easter weekend.
British Columbia health officials announced today that there have been 519 new test-positive COVID-19 cases since Friday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 341,532. In a written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that 787 (-16) COVID-positive individuals are currently hospitalized, and 124 (+5) are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. There have been two new COVID-19-related deaths in British Columbia, for a total of 2,766 deaths in the province.
Over 100 Delta residents have donated more than $14,000 to the convoy protests and illegal blockades through the crowdfunding website GiveSendGo, an analysis of hacked data from the website reveals. Earlier this week, crowdfunding website GiveSendGo was hacked after it gained widespread use in collecting funds for truckers blocking downtown Ottawa and Canada/U.S. borders across the country, including Pacific Highway border crossing in South Surrey.
New research from Environment Canada suggests climate change at least doubled the likelihood of catastrophic flooding that swamped much of southern B-C last fall. The agency says the findings are based on a comparison of simulations with human influence on climate and without human influence. The study, which is now undergoing peer review, also finds that the chance of another catastrophe continues to increase as greenhouse gases keep entering the atmosphere. The weather agency’s Nathan Gillett says the conclusions point to the need to rebuild roads and buildings that are able to withstand more severe weather than in the past.
Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke has lost her fight to have the 25 cent bag fee scrapped for all restauraunts and SkipTheDishes. She had argued it isn’t fair to charge people when they aren’t allowed to supply their own cloth-bag due to sanitary reasons in drive-thrus and restauraunts, leaving them no other choice but to pay.
R-C-M-P in Surrey have cleared a protest that blocked access to the Pacific Highway border crossing south of Vancouver since the weekend. Police ordered demonstrators out of the area late last night and Constable Sarbjit Sangha says 12 people were arrested, in addition to the four taken into custody on Sunday. Trucks were reaching the main commercial point of entry between B-C and Washington state by early this morning. Opponents of COVID-19 public health mandates have vowed to continue protests near the border until all pandemic-related mandates are lifted and Sangha says officers are checking traffic heading to the crossing to ensure drivers intend to enter the U-S.