(File photo)

The provincial government has agreed to postpone the City of Victoria byelection that was originally scheduled to take place on April 4th.

This byelection was scheduled to decide who would replace councillor Laurel Collins after she was elected Member of Parliament for Victoria in November.

Now, it is one of four byelections and referendums across the province that have been postponed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

See also: City of Victoria to consider restricting evictions, deferring payments in light of COVID-19

Byelections in Rossland and Lytton, and a referendum in Kamloops have also been deferred.

“I know that local governments are working hard to keep their communities safe and protected during this pandemic,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selina Robinson in a statement.

“After consulting with our public health officials and local governments, I have signed a ministerial order postponing byelections and referendums in these communities so they can focus on protecting their residents.”

According to a statement from the province, these deferrals were requested by local government members as well as public health officials in order to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission by not requiring people to gather at polling booths.

The move also frees up municipal government resources to focus on dealing with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Decisions surrounding when to reschedule these byelections for will be taken by local governments after discussions with public health officials and Elections BC.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

Based on the latest updates, there are 231 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 16 on Vancouver Island.

The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.

On Tuesday, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Today, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.

The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.

Canada has also tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada. U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule.

Moreover international flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19  line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 230,030.

Nearly 9,400 people have died from the illness and 86,256 have made a full recovery.