Coronavirus latest: Cruise passengers in quarantine in B.C.

Two passengers who were aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan are now in quarantine in B.C. 

The province's top medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, told media Tuesday morning that the two people from the ship - which has been quarantined in Japan - have come back here and are again under quarantine, as per a federal order.

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This comes as the third passenger, who was on board, has died and 57 more people tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of Tuesday morning, COVID-19 has infected 80,419 people around the world and killed 2,711, most of whom are in China.

Almost 28,000 of those cases have fully recovered.

Henry added that all seven cases of COVID-19 in B.C. are doing well.

The first case was released from isolation last week, while cases two through four are expected to be released shortly.

"A couple of close contacts of those cases have had symptoms but since tested negative," added Henry.

"We continue to be in active containment mode, but we are well aware of the global situation changing.

"We are paticularly conerned about Iran, because we didn't know a lot of what was going on there."

Henry said the World Health Organization (WHO) is not ready to declare the outbreak a pandemic, but B.C. and Canada is making preparations to deal with that outcome.

"WHO did confirm that the numbers in China are coming down," she said.

"We're making plans with our health care system if there is a pandemic.

"Some of the things we need to start talking about is travel. Any international travel is something we need to pay attention to.

"We need to monitor ourselves. We're seeing a lot of other illnesses being transmiited that can mirror COVID-19."

She said, if the situation here in B.C. were to worsen, employers could do more by allowing people to work from home and schools could do more to manage any possible transmission of the disease.

In terms of more misinformation on social media about the outbreak, B.C.'s health minister Adrian Dix urged people to "exercise discretion and judgement. We must do everything as a community to protect people from (being labelled as having the disease)."

A seventh case of coronavirus (COVID-19) was announced in B.C. on Monday.

B.C.'s top medical health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, said the new case, a man in his 40s, was in close contact with the province's sixth case, which was revealed last week.

Henry said yesterday the latest case is a man in the Fraser Health region and he is in isolation at his home in that area.

"He had onset of symptoms prior to case six's diagnosis," added Henry.

"There have been a number of close contacts (with case six) and they are also in isolation.

"They are all in stable condition and in isolation."

Henry said authorities have been in touch with a "number of close contacts" from the sixth case and "no one else showing symptoms at the moment."

The sixth case was a woman in her 30s, who had recently travelled to Iran.

Henry said the health authorities in B.C. are getting prepared in case the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

“We’re not at that point yet where we don’t think (the disease) can be contained,” added Henry.

“But we are preparing for the worst, as well.”

Asked why the authorities are not naming the flight the sixth case took on Feb. 14 from Montreal to Vancouver, Henry said the release of information is a fine balance between ensuring they get in contact with everyone who has had close contact with the case and privacy.

“When we first announced (the sixth case), there was some confusion about which flight (she was on),” said Henry.

“But we were able to obtain the flight’s manifest and identify people who may have been in close contact with her on that flight.

“We then assess the risks about how she moved around and, if we had concerns, we would have put (more information) out publicly.

“We are confident that we were able to identify someone who may be at risk.”

Henry added that the sixth case was wearing a mask for some of the time during that flight from Montreal.

She said the latest case contracted the virus while in close contact with the sixth case, while in the Fraser Health region, which stretches from Delta in the west, to Hope in the east and White Rock to the south.

Authorities revealed on Sunday that the sixth case was a passenger aboard a Vancouver-bound Air Canada flight who later tested positive for COVID-19.

Air Canada confirmed the passenger flew from Montreal to Vancouver Feb. 14, and said health officials confirmed the case with the airline Saturday.

The airline added it is working with public health authorities and has taken "all recommended measures."

The woman went to a local hospital with flu-like symptoms after returning to B.C., and is recovering in isolation at her home in the Fraser Health region.

Other passengers on the flight who sat near the woman, as well as flight crew, are being notified, according to the PHSA, which did not provide a flight number.

The case is being called a "sentinel event," or an indicator of more widespread transmission, as the patient did not have a connection to China or that country's Hubei province, where the virus originated.

Iran has announced 43 cases of COVID-19 and eight deaths as of Sunday.

B.C. has five other confirmed cases, although one has since recovered.

Meanwhile, officials in Ontario announced another case of COVID-19 in Toronto on Saturday: a woman who arrived in Canada from China on Friday.

Ontario health officials said she wore a mask during her flight to Toronto and had limited exposure to others after landing.

She is Ontario's only active case of COVID-19, as that province's three previously-confirmed cases have all recovered.

 

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