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YVR provides updates on coronavirus concerns

By Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative reporter

Published 12:12 PST, Thu January 30, 2020

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

As public concern for coronavirus intensifies, travellers may be wondering what measures are in place at Vancouver International Airport to keep passengers, employees, and the public safe.

This week, the airport (YVR) provided an update on its website. Details were given by Robyn McVicker, the vice-president of operations and maintenance at Vancouver Airport Authority.

According to McVicker, passengers exhibiting flu-like symptoms must declare these to an officer when going through customs. Additionally, electronic kiosks that precede Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officers will ask customers if they’ve visited Wuhan, China in the last two weeks. Travellers who say ‘yes’ will be referred to a CBSA officer, who will decide if they need further assessment.

YVR has also increased cleaning in key locations such as touch screen stations, hand rails, and washrooms. There will be more hand sanitizer dispensers located throughout the terminals.

BC’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, says “airport screening measures are working effectively and as intended.”

All decisions around health-related passenger screenings are made by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). YVR works with PHAC and Canada Border Services Agency to implement additional screening measures.

Individual airlines decide when flights will be changed or cancelled. In total, 56 airlines serve Vancouver International Airport. Of those, eight offer service to mainland China: Air Canada, Air China, China Eastern, China Southern Airlines, Hainan Airlines, Sichuan Airlines, Beijing Capital Airlines, and Xiamen Airlines.

“The PHAC has deemed the risk related to coronavirus low,” says McVicker. “But it’s a good time to think about your own personal hygiene, and remind people: wash your hands, keep the surfaces around you clean, and make sure you cough or sneeze into your sleeve. And of course, if you have any health concerns, please reach out to your healthcare provider.”

More updates will be provided on YVR’s website as the coronavirus situation continues to develop.

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