COVID-19: B.C. asks citizens not to travel outside Canada, to cancel events with over 250 people

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      While B.C. confirmed more new COVID-19 cases, including at a second care home on Vancouver's North Shore, the province also introduced new advisories that will affect events and travel.

      B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry stated at a news conference today (March 12) that there are seven new B.C. cases, bringing the total to 53 cases in the province.

      Four cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, including a 40-year-old who travelled in the U.K. (including London and Scotland), a male and female couple who were on a cruise in Egypt, and a male in his 50s whose source of infection remains unknown.

      Three cases are linked to Hollyburn House, a care home in West Vancouver.

      One is a resident in his 90s while two are healthcare workers (a male and female who are in their 40s and who live in the Fraser Health Region) who also work at North Vancouver’s Lynn Valley Care Centre, where cases were first confirmed on March 7.

      Two previously diagnosed cases have recovered, bringing the total recoveries to six in B.C.

      Dr. Henry and B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix announced new recommendations that will affect travelers, event organizers, and employers across the province.

      Dr. Henry stated that the province is not allowing events with 250 or more people to be held, and are asking organizers to cancel such events.

      The B.C. government announced earlier today that 2020 Women’s World Curling Championships, which was scheduled to be held from March 14 to 22 in Prince George, has been cancelled.

      All non-essential travel outside of Canada, including to the U.S., is being discouraged.

      Anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada is being instructed to self-isolate and remain away from work or school for 14 days upon return.

      Dr. Henry stated that schools are not being shut down yet, as she said they still need to understand role that young people play in the transmission of virus and that such closures can cause “societal disruption and economic impact”.

      Employers are being asked to take measures such as increasing distance between employees, allowing employees to work from home, and holding virtual meetings instead of in-person meetings.

      Yesterday (March 11), B.C. had confirmed seven new cases.

      More B.C. information about COVID-19 is available at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook