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Horgan expects people with COVID-19 vaccines will get flexibility to do more

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks through a copy of phase two in B.C.'s COVID-19 immunization plan as Premier John Horgan looks on during a news conference at the legislature in Victoria on March 1, 2021.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
March 17, 2021 - 4:47 PM

VICTORIA - The lifting of more British Columbia health restrictions is likely as the COVID-19 vaccination plan rolls out across the province, Premier John Horgan said Wednesday.

However, Horgan says he's not prepared to speculate on what limits could be placed on people who have not yet received their COVID-19 shot.

"We'll have more to say as we can, but I don't want to give false hope nor do I want to give an indication to any group or sector that they're in a position to change their behaviour," Horgan said during a news conference.

The premier said he wanted people in B.C., regardless of their vaccine status, to remain vigilant and continue to fight COVID-19.

"We will be making more changes as more people get vaccinated," said Horgan. "Those who have been vaccinated will have a bit more flexibility of course because they are less risk to the people around them and the people around them are less risk to them."

He said the pace of relaxing health regulations is a matter determined by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and members of the government's health team.

B.C. reported 498 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday and four deaths, bringing the death toll to 1,411.

There are 281 people in hospital, including 83 in intensive care.

The province said it has administered 444,140 COVID-19 vaccine shots, of which 87,093 are second doses.

"I don't want to speculate on any activity that may well be available to those who have been vaccinated before it's available to anyone else," Horgan said. "It really isn't as simple as, 'I've had a vaccine, I can go do whatever I want.'"

Last week, Horgan said he supported the concept of vaccine passports to prove international travellers have had their COVID-19 vaccines, but he was lukewarm on similar certificates for people in B.C. to attend local sports and entertainment events.

Henry said earlier this week she's looking at allowing indoor religious services next month after allowing outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people.

B.C. has been vaccinating people in their 80s and 90s and Indigenous elders over 65 over the past two weeks, and the government says it is on track to complete at least one shot for all adults who want to be vaccinated by July.

"As more and more people are vaccinated, hundreds of thousands already with more to come, I think we will see relaxing as we already have some of the regulations," Horgan said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2021.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021
The Canadian Press

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