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Plan to maintain COVID-19 precautions through the summer

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Province of B.C.
January 22, 2021 - 12:11 PM

While Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry is confident everyone in B.C. can get vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September, that doesn’t mean lock down restrictions are going to ease any time soon.

During a news briefing today, Jan. 22, Dr. Henry was asked when restrictions might be relaxed so people can, for example, socialize more.

“I would love to be able to say July 1,” she replied. “But there’s a whole lot of unknowns.”

Those unknowns include things like the United Kingdom and South African variants that make COVID-19 spread more easily.

Plus, it will take until the fall to achieve herd immunity since the number of vaccine doses available increases later in the year.

The current restrictions are in effect until Feb. 5 so no changes will come before then, Dr. Henry said.

She noted that there are a number of community celebrations coming up, such as Chinese New Year, and those must continue to remain small and virtual.

“By the summer, we should be able to have some types of our normal lives back again but the full back-to-what-we-would-like-to-have, in terms of social interactions and being together, is not likely before the fall,” Dr. Henry said.

She advised against making foreign travel plans since many countries don’t have the same access to vaccines that Canada has and advised people to only travel for essential reasons for now.

On the positive side, the virus does not spread as easily in the spring and summer, she said.

By summer, she hopes, travel within B.C. will be allowed, much like it was last summer, but with small groups and without the large parties that led to COVID-19 spreading in some areas last year.

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