Thousands of people showed up outside a London mosque last night to show their support for the Muslim family killed in Sunday’s truck attack. One online fundraiser set up to help the surviving boy suggests the victims were all very loved members of the community. Five members of a Muslim family were run down Sunday while they were out for a walk, and only young Fayez Salman survived. A 20-year-old London man is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one of attempted murder. It says Salman Afzaal was a physiotherapist and a cricket enthusiast, while his “brilliant” wife Madiha Salman was working on her PhD in civil engineering at Western University. Their 15-year-old daughter Yumna was an honour-roll Grade 9 student, while her grandmother was described as a “pillar” of the family.
The chief medical officer of health for the southern interior of British Columbia is in custody, facing sex charges in Alberta. Alberta R-C-M-P say 52-year-old Dr. Albert de Villiers faces one count each of sexual assault and sexual interference. De Villiers was arrested in Kelowna yesterday based on a warrant issued in Grande Prairie, Alberta stemming from allegations concerning a child between 2018 and 2020. Before taking his job in B-C, De Villiers was the medical officer of health for Alberta’s North Zone until last July.
Easier travel between Canada and the United States could soon resume for fully vaccinated people. After the federal government said it was taking step towards easing restrictions earlier this week, an announcement could be made as soon as Friday. It is expected to be a long, gradual process and first steps would likely allow for smoother cross-border travel for people who are fully immunized. This comes amid growing chatter about the land border closure, with pressure to reopen crossings or at least provide a timeline and detail criteria for reopening to help businesses prepare. The initial easing of restrictions would likely not trigger a flood of tourists heading south for the summer given that only eight per cent of Canadians are currently fully vaccinated. That is compared to approximately 42 per cent of U.S. residents. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed this week that Canada will begin taking steps to ease travel restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers – though he did not provide a timeframe.

 

Health officials are calling on people to ensure they get their second vaccine dose to be fully protected from COVID-19. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say of the nearly 3.7 million shots administered to an eligible population of 4.3 million people, less than 346-thousand are second doses. B-C’s COVID-19 cases are steadily declining, and the latest

one-day total is 165 cases, for a total of nearly 146-thousand infections. No additional deaths have been recorded, and 57 people are in intensive care

The Adams Lake Indian Band will be hosting a walk from Kamloops to Chase to honor survivors of residential schools and others impacted by the practice that traumatized generations of families. The three-day event called Walking Our Spirts Home comes after preliminary findings showed 215 children’s remains are buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. The band says the walk starts Friday, and a closing ceremony will be held on Sunday morning at the band’s gym.

 

The federal government is set to announce today that fully vaccinated Canadian travelers will no longer need to spend 14-days in quarantine upon arriving home. A federal source familiar with the policy says the change will go into effect  early next month. It will apply to Canadian citizens and permanent residents who have had a full course of a COVID-19 vaccine. Affected travelers will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada, and remain in isolation until the test comes back negative. Fully vaccinated Canadian air travelers will also no longer need to spend three days quarantining in an authorized hotel upon arriving in the country.

 

The 70-million-dollar Lotto Max jackpot is still unclaimed. There was no winner in last night’s draw. However, 28 of the 50 Maxmillion prizes of one-million-dollars were won. The jackpot for the next draw on Friday will remain at an estimated 70-million-dollars.

 

The Surrey Board of Trade’s third “Surrey Pulse Survey” indicates that 14.74 per cent of local businesses have seen their business increase since January despite the COVID-19 pandemic, while 20 per cent experienced no impact, 25.26 per cent have “mostly or fully” re-opened and 12.64 per cent have partially re-opened.

“We are going to see significant changes in optimism and action as a result of the recent release of the BC Economic Recovery Plan,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the board. “This Surrey pulse survey is still important as a starting indicator of what needs to be overcome when the four biggest concerns for businesses are staff absences because they cannot offer work from home, not being able to ship goods because of a disrupted supply chain, a decrease in demand for products/services, and shifting to new products/services in order to remain in business.”

 

The federal government is easing COVID-19 quarantine travel measures for fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents next month. That’s contingent on a negative virus test upon their return. Health Minister Patty Hajdu (HY’-doo) says the government will watch carefully as cases change and as vaccination rates rise. But several Conservative party M-Ps said the Liberal government had failed to end its unscientific and unsafe quarantine hotel program, which still remains in effect for many travellers. Business groups welcomed the proposed change but say it doesn’t go far enough.

 

British Columbia health officials announced 148 new test-positive COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the province to 145,843. In a joint written statement, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said that broken down by health region, 23 are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, 75 are in the Fraser Health region, 10 are in the Island Health region, 32 are in the Interior Health region, and eight are in the Northern Health region. There are currently 1,975 active cases of COVID-19 in the province. Of the active cases, 195 individuals are currently hospitalized, 47 of whom are in intensive care. The remaining people are recovering at home in self-isolation. There have been three new COVID-19-related deaths, for a total of 1,725 deaths in British Columbia. To date, 74.5% of all adults in BC and 72.4% of those 12 and older have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In total, 3,749,758 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in BC, 390,264 of which are second doses. A total of 142,106 people who tested positive for the virus have now recovered.

 

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says a pilot project to test cannabis sold in illicit stores found almost every sample was contaminated by at least one type of pesticide. Farnworth says testing also found “unacceptable levels” of bacteria, fungi or heavy metals in many of the 20 samples seized from illicit stores across Metro Vancouver. He says Health Canada requires licensed cultivators to test cannabis to make sure it’s fit for consumption, but little is known about the quality of illicit cannabis products and production. Farnworth is also warning people, especially those with children, not to buy illicit cannabis edibles packaged to look like candy or cookies because it often exceeds legal limits of T-H-C Concentration.

 

Movie theatres in BC are getting ready to open again on June 15th after long closures due to COVID 19 restrictions. The re-openings are part of the BC’s second stage of the restart plan that was announced on May 25th. There hasn’t been any official announcement regarding the re-openings but Landmark Cinemas has begun promoting the reopening.  “We are excited to welcome Movie Lovers across British Columbia back to the big-screen, big sound moviegoing experience that you can only enjoy in theatres. We are fully prepared to provide Movie Lovers with a safe and enjoyable movie-going experience.” said Landmark CEO Bill Walker (via CityNews) Dr. Reka Gustafson, the Deputy Public Health Officer, also hinted that things were moving in the reopening stages. The official next phase of reopening is set to launch for next week, on Tuesday, June 15th.