Medical personnel travelling to and from the mainland and Vancouver Island can now take a chopper at no cost.

Helijet International announced on Wednesday that the company would be offering seats at no cost for health care workers travelling on business from Victoria and Nanaimo to Vancouver and vice versa.

This initiative aims to provide doctors, nurses or others in the health care sector with a fast and free way to get to and from health centres to provide direct patient care, or attend urgent medical strategy sessions or briefings on the outbreak.

“We’ve been providing downtown-to-downtown scheduled air service for 34 years and we know that right now, every minute counts,” said Danny Sitnam, President and CEO of Helijet International, in a statement.

“We’re proud to help out during the COVID-19 crisis by supporting free flights for British Columbia’s health care responders who may need to travel to and from Vancouver Island. Their efforts are unprecedented right now and we’re proud to help where we can.”

Helijet International has been designated an ‘essential service’ by the provincial government and offers downtown-to-downtown air service for passengers and cargo between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Flights are currently operating on a reduced schedule due to lower demand during the pandemic, with daily return flights between Vancouver Harbour and Victoria Harbour, as well as Vancouver Harbour and Nanaimo Harbour.

B.C. health care responders can book these flights for free, with proper verification, starting April 6th.

The program will last for at least 30 days at which time it will be reviewed and possibly extended.

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

As of the time of publication, there are 1,013 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 67 on Vancouver Island.

In good news, a total of 507 people have now recovered from novel coronavirus in B.C. This represents an approximate 50% recovery rate.

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 920,939.

Over 46,100 people have died from the illness and 193,350 have made a full recovery.

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