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Four new B.C. flights identified for possible COVID-19 exposure

People dragging luggage wearing masks at the airport. (via Getty Images)

The BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) is warning airline passengers they may have been exposed to COVID-19 on multiple recent flights out of Vancouver. 

Since then, the following four new flights have been added to the BCCDC's list of affected flights:

  • Sept. 27: Air Canada Flight 296, Vancouver to Winnipeg (Rows 27 - 29)
  • Sept.25: WestJet 725, Toronto to Vancouver (Rows 1 - 7)
  • Sept. 28: WestJet 171, Edmonton to Vancouver (Rows 23 - 29)
  • Oct. 1: Philippine Airlines 5116, Manila to Toronto via Vancouver (Rows 65 - 71)

Any travellers returning to B.C. are encouraged to check the public health agency's website for updates about flights identified for the risk of exposure. Those travelling from outside of Canada, meanwhile, must arrive prepared with a 14-day self-isolation plan. 

The country's two largest airlines ended their onboard seat distancing policies on July 1, raising health concerns amid a pandemic that has devastated the travel industry.

On social media, a few people ask why airlines are permitted to ignore physical distancing protocols while other businesses must adhere to them; others simply say they won't travel with airlines that don't have distancing policies in place. 

Currently, the Government of Canada states that you should avoid all travel outside of the country until further notice due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a global travel advisory, the government notes that "This advisory overrides other risk levels on this page, with the exception of any risk levels for countries or regions where we advise to avoid all travel."

- with files from Lindsay William-Ross, Vancouver Is Awesome, and The Canadian Press