Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry are calling for "tolerance" in the wake of two more presumptive coronavirus cases in B.C.
This brings the total to four—and the two recent cases are a male and female in their 30s who are visiting the Vancouver Coastal Health region from the Chinese province of Hubei.
"The people affected are in the same household and have been in close contact with the previously reported second confirmed case announced on February 5," Dix and Henry said in a joint statement. "The three cases and all close contacts remain in isolation at home."
The two latest test results have been sent to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg for confirmation.
Hubei is the epicentre of a growing coronavirus outbreak that has killed 635 people. There are 30,829 confirmed cases as of this writing.
"We call on all British Columbians to come together as a community to help one another," Dix and Henry said. "In this time of uncertainty, this is not only the right response, but the necessary one. Fear obstructs the important work of our public health officials to protect the health and safety of British Columbians."
They noted that the risk of this virus spreading in B.C. "remains low at this time".
"We are watching the situation very closely and will notify the public if measures in B.C. change," they said. "The goal is rapid identification of potential cases, timely care for those who need it and prevention of local transmission."
As for preventing the spread, Dix and Henry had these recommendations: "The most important measures to prevent all respiratory illnesses, including this novel coronavirus, remain cleaning your hands regularly and avoiding touching your face, as well as coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and staying home and away from others if you become sick."
Anyone who feels they are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus should contact their primary care provider or public health office, or phone 811.
The call for tolerance comes a day after the Province newspaper described the illness as the "China virus" on its front page.
That prompted a backlash from the Chinese consulate, various people in the community, and Vancouver East NDP MLA Jenny Kwan.
A petition on change.org has called on the Province to stop referring to the novel coronavirus as the "China virus", declaring that it's "rude and discriminatory".
"H1N1 influenza virus was first found in the United States," the petition states. "It is never called American or US virus; Zika virus was first found in Brazil, it is never called Brazilian virus; Ebola virus originated from Congo, it is never called Congo virus.
"The choice of words calling it China virus is simply wrong and not in accordance with Canadian values, not up to Canadian journalism ethic standard."
The petition has attracted 12,171 signatures as of this writing.