British Columbia has announced a ban of public gatherings of more than 250 people and has issued an advisory against non-essential travel outside of Canada as more confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus were tabulated on Thursday afternoon.
Anyone who defies the travel advisory will be required to stay away from work or school for 14 days upon their return to the province.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said there are seven new confirmed COVID-19 cases, bringing the total in B.C. to 53.
Three cases are connected to a West Vancouver care home, the second Metro Vancouver care home to face a potential outbreak after two workers and a resident tested positive for the virus. Four more cases are travel-related: a man in his 40s who travelled to the UK, and a couple in their 40s who were on a travel tour to Egypt.
Based on confirmed cases, there remains only one in the Interior Health region, a woman in her 30s who arrived at Vancouver International Airport from Shanghai, China, in early February and drove to her home.
The Ministry of Health told KTW on Wednesday that she was recovering at home in isolation, with health officials saying there is no risk of exposure to others, and that she was never in a hospital.
On Thursday, health officials said seven early COVID-19-infected patients had fully recovered, though they did not specify if the Interior Health patient was one of them.
“It’s become apparent that this is a rapidly-changing situation,” Henry said in announcing the ban on larger gatherings. “While it hasn’t changed a lot here in B.C., the risk has increased all around us.”