Blue Line

B.C. First Nation chief closes border at Kingcome Inlet to keep out COVID-19

March 19, 2020  By The Canadian Press

VICTORIA — A British Columbia First Nation of about 120 people and accessible only by boat or float plane has closed its borders to outsiders in an effort to keep out the novel coronavirus.

Chief Willie Moon of the Dzawad’enuwx First Nation Council said it’s his duty to protect the health of his community members, which includes many elderly people with health conditions.

“It’s just too high a risk to have people travelling in and out of our community,” the chief said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The Dzawad’enuwx First Nation is located at Kingcome Inlet, a secluded village near the north end of Vancouver Island that is about 290 kilometres northwest of Vancouver.


Moon said the council is prepared to call the RCMP to remove non-residents who come to Kingcome Inlet without band authorization. So far that has not happened, he said.

The band council says in a news release Wednesday the transport of supplies into Kingcome Inlet must also receive council permission.

“Should individuals who are not residents of our community attempt to enter our community without authorization and clearance from the council, the RCMP will be called upon for immediate removal of said individuals,” says the statement.

Some Manitoba First Nations also supported moves to essential only travel in and out of their communities to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Moon said the council has asked all Kingcome residents who are outside the community to return home, but they must self-isolate for two weeks when they get back.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 18, 2020.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc., 2020

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