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‘Come on, we are better than this’: B.C. premier pleads with public to stop spreading COVID-19

Click to play video: '‘Come on, you’re better than that’: B.C. premier on following health measures during the pandemic' ‘Come on, you’re better than that’: B.C. premier on following health measures during the pandemic
Premier John Horgan had a strong message for British Columbians, in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 cases linked to private parties in Kelowna, as well as the social media outrage over photos of a large drum circle involving hundreds of people at Vancouver's Third Beach – Jul 23, 2020

Premier John Horgan pleaded with all British Columbians on Thursday to follow public health guidelines and slow the spread of COVID-19, in his first news conference since concerns were raised over potentially “explosive growth” of cases in the province.

Horgan said he was frustrated seeing pictures from Kelowna and a drum circle at Stanley Park’s Third Beach in Vancouver showing groups of mostly young people gathering closely together and not observing physical-distancing.

Click to play video: 'B.C. premier has a message for young people who aren’t observing physical-distancing rules' B.C. premier has a message for young people who aren’t observing physical-distancing rules
B.C. premier has a message for young people who aren’t observing physical-distancing rules – Jul 23, 2020

“It is not the time to make new friends. It is time to reinforce the friends you have. We cannot go back to normal interactions. I am appealing to British Columbians to use their good sense,” he said.

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“I say to the drummers, there is a lot of coastline to gather on. There is a lot of space, but do it responsibly.”

The premier told reporters he doesn’t believe B.C. moved to Phase 3 of its economic recovery plan too soon, not just allowing recreational travel again within the province but encouraging it to help struggling businesses.

“I don’t believe we opened too quickly. Our daily cases counts when we moved to Phase 3 were really low. The envy of Canada.”

Read more: ‘Don’t come here to make new friends’: Kelowna, B.C., mayor on spike in COVID-19 cases

Horgan said he would not back down from his “travel B.C.” message because health officials anticipated an increase in cases alongside increase in travel, and B.C. is still seeing lower levels of transmission than places like Alberta.

“We said from the beginning that mobility rights of Canadians were fundamental,” he said.

Click to play video: '‘I’m at about 102’: Dr. Bonnie Henry’s level of concern for latest COVID-19 numbers' ‘I’m at about 102’: Dr. Bonnie Henry’s level of concern for latest COVID-19 numbers
‘I’m at about 102’: Dr. Bonnie Henry’s level of concern for latest COVID-19 numbers – Jul 20, 2020

Read more: B.C. restaurants tighten guidelines amid new spike in COVID-19 cases

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The outbreak in Kelowna has been linked to more than 70 cases of COVID-19, with links to exposures in all five health authorities.

Across the province, more than 1,000 people overall are in self-isolation.

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