Richmond Coun. Harold Steves suggested in a Twitter post on Friday that the borders should be closed in light of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
But Mayor Malcolm Brodie isn’t necessarily ready to push for such extreme measures, saying closing the border would be “pretty draconian.”
“We do have to be careful but that would be somewhat too forceful at this point,” Brodie said.
We’ve met with the #RichmondBC Public Health Officer. There have been no cases in Richmond. Thank China for that. Richmond residents are self regulating. Chinese restaurants are going broke. Problem is people coming into Richmond & people crossing the border. Close the border.— ClimateChange Steves (@Harold_Steves) March 13, 2020
Washington State has seen outbreaks of coronavirus with 457 cases as of Thursday – including 270 in the Seattle area.
To stay on top of the coronavirus outbreak, Richmond city staff are meeting sometimes more than once a day and briefing politicians regularly to keep them updated, with the health of Richmondites “top of our minds,” Brodie explained.
Attention to hygiene, cleanliness and maintenance, to make sure everything is running “perfectly,” has been stepped up at all city facilities, Brodie said, and at this point none have been closed.
While these extra measures are in place, it has not had any impact on the budget, but, if needed, Brodie said council will do whatever is necessary for the health of Richmond citizens.
Right now, he said they need to take the necessary steps to “react appropriately, not over-react.”
Richmond’s medical health officer, Dr. Meena Dewar, attended Monday’s council meeting to give an update on the outbreak and dispel misinformation in the community, pointing out there were no cases diagnosed in Richmond so far.
Brodie said he expects updates from Dewar to be done regularly. The council meetings are normally livestreamed online, but, due to a technical glitch, Dewar’s presentation didn’t get broadcast, something Brodie called “unfortunate.”
The city has cancelled the Cherry Blossom Festival, scheduled for April 5 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Brodie said he gets invited to many events but this year, his calendar is looking a lot different, with several cancelled.
This was especially noticeable during Chinese New Year at which time there were only a handful events compared to other years when he’s attended 15 to 20.
As far as combatting the coronavirus, Brodie said everyone should follow the health authority’s recommendations on personal hygiene – washing hands regularly, avoiding touching your face as well as monitoring your health and watching for symptoms