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Province bans large gatherings as B.C. COVID-19 cases rise

Citynews 1130 Vancouver

Last Updated Mar 12, 2020 at 5:45 pm PDT

FILE - Dr. Bonnie Henry is shown in this January 28, 2020 file photo with British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Summary

Gatherings of more than 250 are prohibited including, concerts, sporting events, and religious gatherings

The seven new COVID-19 cases Thursday bring the recorded total in B.C. to 53

The province is advising people to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, urging self-isolation upon return

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — Health Minister Adrian Dix has banned all events with more than 250 people amid concerns of COVID-19 spreading.

That includes sporting events, upcoming concerts and all religious gatherings.

“We think it’s the right number and the right judgement among the choices we could have made to ensure that people can engage in appropriate social distancing,” Dix said.

Meanwhile, Dix and Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry are advising people to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada.

Henry said self-isolation upon returning from the U.S. will be voluntary.

The travel warning is to last for months, not weeks.

“That means no quarts of milk in Bellingham, no trips to Disneyland, no trips to Paris or Berlin or Boise,” Dix added. “And anyone who chooses to travel outside of Canada must stay home from work or school for 14 days upon their return.”

The announcements come as B.C. recorded seven more COVID-19 cases, including two from a second care home.

Two cases of the global COVID-19 pandemic were confirmed at Hollyburn House in West Vancouver earlier in the day. It is the second care home in Metro Vancouver facing a coronavirus outbreak.

The seven new COVID-19 cases Thursday bring the recorded total in B.C. to 53.

At this point, Henry said there are no plans to close schools, but that could change should the outbreak situation rapidly get worse. She added the focus remains on slowing the spread of the virus.

She also said people who want to be tested for COVID-19, but are not experiencing symptoms should stay home. Those having a hard time breathing should call a doctor or hospital ahead of seeking treatment.

Henry also asked church leaders to find innovative ways to hold remote or virtual faith sessions.