Don’t travel if you don’t have to.

That’s the message from BC Premier John Horgan.

The province continues to be hit hard during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic after setting four dubious records on Tuesday.

Provincial health officials reported 717 new infections, and 11 deaths, which increased the active number of cases to 6,589, with 198 people in hospital.

Northern Health saw a record 21 new cases, marking 539 overall with 64 of those active.

Horgan noted that a pan-Canadian approach is necessary for eliminating non-essential travel during the winter season.

“We need to make sure that people in Coquitlam are living under the same rules as those in Chicoutimi, we need to make sure that those that come to British Columbia must only do so if it is essential for their business or well-being.”

“This is not a penalty, this is not people wagging their finger at you, this is solid advice that will keep you and your loved ones safe and that is the reason we have been doing this for the past nine months. There is essential travel that must happen. We need to move goods and services around British Columbia to keep our economy going and to keep our shelves full of food and essential provisions to get through what will be a cold and long winter. ”

“I am not suggesting we put in restrictions beyond stating the obvious that if you don’t need to travel don’t travel. This is not the time to go storm watching out on the west coast of Vancouver Island, this is not the time to plan for a large gathering of friends over the Christmas holiday.”

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel on the vaccine front.

Pfizer Pharmaceuticals is reporting that a final analysis of human trials of its COVID-19 vaccine shows it’s almost 95 percent effective, even in older adults, with no major safety concerns.

It plans to apply to the U-S Food and Drug Administration for an emergency authorization in the coming days.

Earlier this month, the company reported that its initial analysis showed a 90 percent rate.

On Monday, Moderna reported that its vaccine was showing a 94.5 percent effective rate in its initial results.

“We are so close. Vaccine breakthroughs are very encouraging and when the vaccines are ready, British Columbia will be ready but we are not there yet. We can see the finish and we can see some hope on what has been a very difficult tunnel,” added Horgan.

The Premier advised the new caucus and cabinet will be sworn in next week.

The selected dates are the 24th (caucus) and the 26th (cabinet) of this month.