Coronavirus updates for March 26: TransLink announces social-distancing measures on Metro Vancouver buses

The latest news on the novel coronavirus from Vancouver, B.C., and across Canada

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      12:02 p.m.

      TransLink is imposing social distancing on the Metro Vancouver bus system in response to COVID-19.

      This week, half the seats will have signs instructing passengers to leave them vacant.

      This will create extra space, reducing the likelihood of transmission of the viral disease.

      It's not expected to have any impact on most travel times because there are far fewer passengers riding the system.

      However, it could be an issue on busier routes during peak travel periods, so riders should prepare to spend additional time reaching their destination.

      Earlier this month, TransLink asked customers without disabilities to board via the rear doors.

      The regional transportation authority has also cancelled fare collection on a temporary basis.

      8 a.m. B.C. health licensing bodies issue warning about unproven COVID-19 therapies

      There is no proven cure for COVID-19, according to the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, but that hasn't stopped quacks from peddling various therapies online.

      That's prompted a warning from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C., the B.C. College of Nursing Professionals, and the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia.

      The three professional licensing bodies all say there is no evidence that the following drugs will treat COVID-19: hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, azithromycin, lopinavir/ritonavir (Kaletra) and colchicine.

      "Health professionals all have a responsibility to their patients and to their profession to focus only on evidence-based care and not yield to well-intentioned patient pressure around unproven and potentially dangerous uses of existing medications," they say.

      "Doing so could present significant health risks to those patients as well as other unintended consequences such as critical shortages of these existing medications for patients who need them to treat other conditions."

      Coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses, according to the B.C. Ministry of Health, causing everything from the common cold to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome to SARS.

      "The majority of published evidence that suggests treatments for COVID-19 is extrapolated from experience with SARS, MERS, or limited to case series," the ministry states. "Randomized controlled trials are ongoing, most notably with two agents, an antiretroviral lopinavir/rionavir (Kaletra) used for treatment of HIV, and a novel investigational antiviral remdesivir.

      "Non-randomized smaller studies, mainly from China, have included a variety of drugs, with Chinese Medicine research comprising over half of the studies."

      Case Summary

      • 42 new cases in B.C. were reported on March 25.
      • There are 659 cases in B.C., including 339 in Vancouver Coastal Health region, 218 cases in Fraser Health region, 47 cases on Vancouver Island, 46 in the Interior Health region, and nine in the Northern Health region.
      • 14 people have died as a result of contracting COVID-19.
      • More than 55 health-care workers have been infected with the novel coronavirus in B.C.