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The fight for COVID-zero – background

The BC Green Party is calling for a three-week targeted shutdown to get the province to COVID-zero. 

We're calling on the government to adopt the following measures:

Create a clear and targeted shutdown strategy for a three-week period that includes:

  • Enforcing non-essential travel measures
    • Government needs to give explicit guidelines about travel. Enforcement could look like discouraging travel by implementing fines and checkpoints in high density areas.
  • Moving school online for most students
    • If we look at the most recent COVID-19 situation report, the test positivity rate for children aged 10-14 went up from 9% to 20% in a very short timeline. Test positivity rates went up for other age groups, but this was by far the biggest spike of them all. This is concerning as it implies that transmission is increasing amongst children, particularly in light of the P1 and B117 variants.  
    • Data on exposures in schools is collected by Global News, here. As you can see on the list, there have been many exposure events across the province. Outbreaks are not declared in schools under the new provincial health order, meaning that if 3+ kids or staff are to get COVID-19, the school is not required to close.
    • Teachers in Fraser Health just asked for blended in-class and online learning in light of the outbreak they are enduring. We have heard from teachers across the province that they are equally concerned for their own safety and the safety of their classrooms. We have also heard from many parents that they are equally concerned.  
    • We are also calling for expanded mental health supports for all British Columbians. This is especially crucial for children and youth. 
  • Providing immediate government support to temporarily close non-essential businesses
    •  It is critical that government support in the form of grants is available the same day the businesses close, and that government works with businesses on a coordinated shutdown with enough notice to effectively prepare. No more blindsiding.

Increase transparency and revamp public communications by:

  • Resuming daily COVID-19 briefings
  • Publishing case numbers on weekends and holidays
  • Extending media availability
  • Adopting new messaging outside of press conferences to target non-compliers

Increase testing and vaccination capacity by:

  • Expanding asymptomatic testing and rapid testing in workplaces, schools, businesses, and neighbourhoods
  • Improving reporting on variants of concern
  • Increasing staffing at vaccination clinics and extending hours to administer all doses as soon as they arrive in the province

We are calling on government to take ownership of their responsibility for BC's pandemic response. The measures in place have not been enough to curb transmission and it is critical that we are proactive instead of reactive.

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Here are some news articles if you're interested in reading more:

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