VICTORIA – British Columbia has moved to reduce the size of gatherings and events over the next six weeks to meet the expected rapid rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron version.
Omicron’s version of cases is increasing in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and around the world, and British Columbia will face a similar increase over the next week, the chief medical officer of health said on Friday. Henry.
The province reported 302 cases on Friday, up from 135 on Thursday.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the province stood at 789, and three more deaths were reported, a health department statement said.
Starting Monday, the ban on events and gatherings will be in effect until the end of January, to reduce the spread of the Omicron variant.
“Certainly this is not where we want to be,” Dr. Henry told a news conference. “That’s the reality of where we are.”
Sites that can accommodate more than 1,000 people will have their capacity reduced to 50 percent. Bonnie Henry said sports tournaments for youth or adults would be canceled during the Christmas holiday period, as would New Year’s celebrations.
He added that indoor family reunions, including rental or vacation properties, are limited to one home, plus 10 guests, and everyone must be vaccinated.
“The most recent version, the Omicron version, adds new and more complex challenges to our pandemic,” said Dr. Henry. “It evolves fast and we have to grow fast too. Right now, we need to slow the spread.”
He added that 50% of the capacity of venues that can accommodate more than 1,000 people applies to sporting events, including hockey games, theatrical performances and concerts.
“These are incidents that have followed the rules really well and we don’t see a lot of transmission, but with this highly transmissive version we need more space, more ventilation and we need to make sure that We enforce requirements. Wearing of masks for these events,” said Bonnie Henry.
Proof of vaccination must be used at all events and people will not be allowed between tables at the restaurant, which will be open on New Year’s Day.
“We can still socialize with each other, but do it in a way that doesn’t increase the risk,” Dr. Henry said.
He said he expected to announce changes on Tuesday to British Columbia’s rapid testing policy, which has faced questions about the lack of availability of tests to the public.
Health Minister Adrian Dix said the new restrictions would be tougher as the province continues to fight a “vicious virus that lives to spread and is spread to live.”
He acknowledged that the people of British Columbia will now face their second consecutive Christmas season under health orders restricting events and gatherings with families and friends.
“It won’t be easy, not for any of us,” Minister Dix said. “But as we have seen, COVID-19 has its own plans. The Omicron version of COVID is highly transmissible and we all know that with the increasing number of cases around the world and here in British Columbia we are called to act again. ,
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