Coronavirus update: B.C. doctor calls for calm in the Chinese community

B.C.'s top medical health official has urged the Lower Mainland's Chinese community to go about their business, despite the coronavirus death toll topping 1,000.

Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked Tuesday morning at a media conference if it was necessary for events to be cancelled, especially in the Chinese community, where people are avoiding public places in their droves

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Henry gave a flat “no.”

“The risk is still very low here (in B.C.) so, no, I don’t believe we should be cancelling events," Henry added.

“The message is the same, if you’re feeling sick, stay at home. Wash your hands frequently and take precautions if you’re coughing and sneezing.”

Henry said that, as of Tuesday, 371 samples have been tested for coronavirus in B.C. and the number of new cases is starting to level off.

“Most people that have been tested have viruses consistent with this time of the year, such as the flu.”

Henry has previously urged people who've travelled from the Hubei province of China, the global epicentre of the virus outbreak, to self-isolate for 14 days when they return to Canada and B.C.

Asked how the authorities know such people are self-isolating for that time, Henry said they’re relying on the CBSA at the airport to give the right advice.

“(People from the Hubei province) are being told to get in touch with the health service within 24 hours.

“People coming back from others parts of China are being asked to monitor themselves for symptoms.”

As of Tuesday morning, the virus has killed 1,016 people among 42,638 confirmed cases in mainland China, and infected more than 43,000 people globally.

B.C. continues to have only four confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to Henry.

All four cases are in the Vancouver Coastal Health region - which includes Richmond - are in stable condition and are still recovering in isolation at home, said Henry.

"All close contacts of these cases are being followed closely by public health officials and remain asymptomatic," said Henry.

The News reported last week how two more people tested positive for the coronavirus in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, bringing the provincial total to four.

Henry said the two new cases were connected to the woman in her 50s that was revealed the previous week as being the second confirmed case in the province.

Henry told media last week that the two new cases were family members of the woman.

She added that the two new cases are visitors from the Wuhan area, in Hubei province, where the virus is believed to have started late last year.

According to Henry, all three people in that household were in self-isolation and are reporting to the health authorities.

She also reiterated advice for people to consider quarantining themselves and their children for 14 days if they have recently travelled back from the Hubei province in China, the global epicentre of the outbreak.

B.C. health minister Adrian Dix chipped in, saying, "If you're sick, stay away from work, if your kids are sick, stay away from school."

The Richmond News previously asked the B.C. Ministry of Health to explain why the patients' city of residence is not being given.

We were told by a ministry spokesperson that “in order to maintain the privacy of the patient, we are not releasing their location at this time.”

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