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B.C.'s top doctor says plans are in place to ramp up fight against spread of COVID-19

Last Updated Feb 25, 2020 at 6:03 pm PDT

FILE - Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C, Tuesday, January 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the World Heath Organization has not listed novel coronavirus as a pandemic yet

B.C's plans include keeping public informed about staying away from work, school or public gatherings if they're sick

No new cases of the coronavirus have been detected in B.C. since a seventh person was diagnosed over the weekend

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) –┬áB.C’s provincial health officer says they are in the planning stages to ramp up the fight against the novel coronavirus in the event of a worldwide spread.

Doctor Bonnie Henry says the novel coronavirus has not been listed as a pandemic by the World Health Organization but cases have been reported in 39 countries.

“We are thinking about what is different if we move to having widespread transmission in countries around the world,” she says. “Having widespread transmission of this in Canada and here in B.C. We are making plans with our health care system and with our partners across government.”

Henry says the plans will include being vigilant about international travellers who may be sick upon their return to Canada.

She adds while the WHO hasn’t declared a pandemic, that could change.

“We are well aware that the global situation is changing,” she says. “We have seen now 39 countries that have had active cases.”

No new cases of the coronavirus have been detected in B.C. since a seventh person was diagnosed over the weekend.

Meantime, Canadians in Iran say they have no way to leave the country now that is dealing with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

They’re asking Ottawa to help them come home, or at least provide consular services while they are there.

The federal government has repatriated more than 500 Canadians and their families from areas affected by the new strain of coronavirus, including the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

The virus known as COVID-19, recently spread to Iran, which has confirmed 95 cases and 16 deaths in the last week alone.