Canada will soon begin bringing citizens home from Hubei province, China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that’s infected more than 17,400 people and left some 360 dead since mid January 2020.
A B.C. government release does not say how many Canadian citizens the government is working to repatriate but does state that at least some of them will eventually continue on to British Columbia as their final destination.
First, however, everyone returning to Canada from Hubei will spend 14 days in quarantine at a Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, outside Toronto.
"We have been working closely with the federal government to ensure the repatriation process is smooth and conducted in a way that best protects the returning Canadians and the public here at home,” reads a B.C. government statement attributed to both provincial health minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. “It is expected that B.C. will be the final destination for some of the returning Canadians, and we will continue liaising with the federal government as it identifies passengers for the repatriation flight.”
According to the release, B.C. authorities have so far tested 114 people for the virus and recorded only one confirmed case.
"We want to reassure people that the risk of this virus spreading within British Columbia remains low at this time. We are watching the evolution of the outbreak in China very closely and will notify the public if the measures we need to take in B.C. change,” it continues.
"All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.”
It adds that the most effective ways to protect one’s self from the coronavirus are to frequently wash hands, avoid touching one’s face, and by coughing and sneezing into one’s sleeve as opposed to one’s hand.
On February 1, the Straight reported that there are eight cases of coronavirus confirmed in the United States plus another four in Canada.
The last time that a respiratory disease caused panic around the globe was in 2002 and 2003. Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) infected some 8,000 people in 17 countries. There were 774 deaths, according to the academic journal Social Science & Medicine.