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B.C. man in hot water for filming himself ‘investigating’ COVID-19 test site, hospital

Delta businessman called an ‘idiot’ for COVID-19 denial stunts
A Delta business owner is being called an idiot by B.C.'s solicitor general for his denial of COVID-19 and his harassing actions. Neetu Garcha reports.

The operator of a Delta yoga studio that was shut down after claiming hot yoga can kill the novel coronavirus is facing an investigation after posting a series of videos where he entered health-care facilities to get the “truth” about the pandemic.

One video shows Mak Parhar attempting to go through a COVID-19 drive-through testing site.

READ MORE: Yoga studio in Delta shut down after claiming hot yoga fights coronavirus

In another, he enters and explores Royal Columbian Hospital, using elevators and peeking into the intensive care unit and an area where COVID-19 patients have been isolated.

B.C.’s testing sites are referral only, while health officials are asking people to stay away from hospitals unless they are in need of urgent care.

Coronavirus outbreak: Health Minister warns of ‘significant penalties’ if COVID-19 quarantines violated
Coronavirus outbreak: Health Minister warns of ‘significant penalties’ if COVID-19 quarantines violated

Royal Columbian is one of 17 hospitals the province has designated as primary COVID-19 centres, and has been virtually emptied out to make room for a possible surge in coronavirus patients.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Bylaw officers to help enforce B.C. health orders with $25,000 fines

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the case has been referred to police, and that the videos show someone putting health-care workers and patients at risk.

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“This is just absolutely appalling and completely unacceptable, this individual is just a complete idiot,” he said.

Okanagan bylaw officers help enforce health orders
Okanagan bylaw officers help enforce health orders

“There’s absolutely no place for this kind of nonsense, this kind of anti-science moronic behaviour, it’s just totally beyond the pale.”

Other videos on Pahar’s YouTube page show him hosting “Anti-covIDIOT” gatherings that violate social distancing directives, and espousing flat-earth conspiracy theories.

READ MORE: No, hot yoga won’t kill the coronavirus, say B.C. health officials after studio’s misleading email

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Reached by Global News, Parhar said he didn’t know the testing sites were referral only, and claimed his yoga studio was shut down because of a miscommunication with a bylaw officer.

He described the content of his videos as citizen journalism.

“I would like concrete evidence of this so-called pandemic,” he said. “You guys are just pushing out this pandemic, pandemic narrative down everybody’s throat.

I don’t think I need to comply and believe that, same with the World Health Organization or Dr. Bonnie Henry? You know, I think in this country of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, the Canadian… I think this [is] a Charter rights issue.”

Farnworth said the consequences of the videos would depend on the outcome of an investigation, and whether it was determined if the criminal code or public health orders were violated.

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READ MORE: Man busted in Richmond, B.C., for selling black-market masks during COVID-19 crisis

People caught breaking the orders could face fines of up to $25,000 and jail terms of up to six months, under B.C.’s Public Health Act.

“I say bring it on,” Parhar told Global News.

“I say tell the police to go and investigate where this pandemic is and what a virus is.”

B.C.’s top doctor announces new orders to help reduce COVID-19 spread
B.C.’s top doctor announces new orders to help reduce COVID-19 spread