(Haida Gwaii/hellobc.com)

People who are not residents of Haida Gwaii are now restricted from travelling to the archipelago in light of an ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

In an announcement on Thursday, the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said he is using emergency powers under the current state of provincial emergency to restrict travel to Haida Gwaii while also ensuring essential goods and services can still be delivered to its residents.

“The Province, Northern Health and the First Nations Health Authority are working closely with the Haida Nation and local governments on Haida Gwaii to respond to this COVID-19 outbreak,” said Farnworth in a statement.

“Our foremost concern is the health and safety of all residents of Haida Gwaii, and we’re working together to limit further spread of COVID-19.”

A total of 20 cases have been linked to the outbreak in the remote community in the Northern Health Authority. Seven of those cases have since been recovered, meaning 13 are still active.

According to the province, these cases are believed to be linked to residents who have travelled off-island, or who had contact with a resident who has travelled off-island.

The decision to restrict non-resident travel to the archipelago was made in conjunction with Council of the Haida Nation, Skidegate Band Council, Old Massett Village Council and local governments, in consultation with the provincial health officer.

The province says testing of residents is ongoing with test results received within 36 hours, and supports including special accommodations for those who need to self-isolate are in place.

Travel to Haida Gwaii will still be allowed for the delivery of essential goods and supplies, medical appointments urgent or emergency family matters, and for the provision of essential services as defined by the unified command structure comprised of the Council of the Haida Nation, village councils and local governments.