UPDATE: At the Committee of the Whole Meeting on Thursday, councillors voted to approve the motion and will be asking the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority and Transport Canada to suspend cruise ship visits to the Port of Victoria until the risk of COVID-19 subsides.
Earlier: The City of Victoria council will be reviewing a resolution on Thursday that seeks to temporarily suspend cruise ship landings at Ogden Point due to growing coronavirus concerns.
The motion, put forth by councillor Ben Isitt, requests that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority follow the advice of provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry who recommended that cruise ship travel be suspended to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
“Jurisdictions around the world have taken measures to restrict international transport in order to contain COVID-19 and reduce the risk to human health and the strain on public healthcare systems,” reads the resolution.
Another part of this motion also requests the federal government to work with other levels of government to provide relief to workers and businesses that would be adversely affected if international cruise ships are prevented from stopping in Victoria.
Isitt’s motion cites both Dr. Henry’s recommendations and public fears over cruise ships landing in Victoria.
These fears have arisen as a result of COVID-19 outbreaks on various cruise ships, including the Grand Princess which was originally scheduled to land in Victoria.
Multiple passengers from that ship tested positive for COVID-19 including several in B.C., once they returned home to the Fraser Health Region.
Earlier this week, the federal government also increased the risk of cruise ship travel to Level 4, advising all Canadians to avoid going on cruise ships in the near future.
The resolution to temporarily suspend cruise ship landings at Ogden Point will be discussed at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole Meeting.
Vancouver Island’s first COVID-19 case was announced on Wednesday. The patient is a 63-year-old man who resides in Victoria and recently returned from a trip to Egypt. He is currently recovering at home and in isolation.