An ambulance worker adjusts her protective mask as she wheels a stretcher into a nursing facility where more than 50 people are sick and being tested for the COVID-19 virus, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Kirkland, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

An ambulance worker adjusts her protective mask as she wheels a stretcher into a nursing facility where more than 50 people are sick and being tested for the COVID-19 virus, Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020, in Kirkland, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

‘Very concerning’: Travellers from Iran asked to self-isolate as COVID-19 cases increase

Nearly 3,000 people have been tested for the novel coronavirus

Canadians are being warned against non-essential travel to Iran as several recent cases of COVID-19 in Canada are being linked to the country.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Canada remains at 27, after seven new cases were identified over the past 48 hours in Ontario. Of the 27 cases, eight are in B.C., one is in Quebec and 18 are in Ontario.

Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam said the new cases were linked to travel to China, Iran, Egypt or contact with people with the virus.

“The rapid increase in cases in Iran, and the number of recent Canadian cases linked to travellers from Iran is very concerning,” Tam told reporters Monday.

All 27 cases in Canada have been “relatively mild.”

Canada has increased the risk level of travelling to Iran to Level 3, which asks to avoid all non-essential travel. China and northern Italy are at the same risk level but Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea are all under some level of travel advisory.

Tam said travellers from Iran are being asked to identify themselves to border agents, contact local public health officials within 24 hours, monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

In regards to the Iranian New Year, which takes place on March 19 this year, Tam said anyone organizing or looking to attend public celebrations should contact local health authorities for information. Canadians are being asked not to travel to Iran for celebrations, as per the travel advisory.

“Anyone who is sick: do not show up [to public gatherings]. Stay home and call local public health,” she said.

Regarding the six COVID-19 deaths in Washington State, Tam said precautions are being taken at land borders.

The message to self-isolate and contact public health authorities is for all travellers, including those crossing from Washington State to B.C.

“Crossing that border means you’ve come from the United States so they will be advising all travellers in the same manner,” Tam said.

For travellers who are already sick, the border agents will follow the already-existing Quarantine Act.

Tam said nearly 2,900 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Canada. Of those, the B.C. Centre for Disease Control said 1,012 were in the province.

“We are preparing the health system and society to respond to the possibility of widespread illness,” she said.

Canadians need to be prepared for the potential “suspension of large-scale gatherings, closure of schools and workplace” if the risk of COVID-19 transmission grows.

Tam said frequent handwashing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and staying home when sick remain the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or any other infectious diseases.

Tam said a full-scale travel ban to anywhere is not on the table at the moment.

“That’s not the current policy. Viruses know no borders,” she said.

– With files from the Associated Press

READ MORE: Canada’s number of COVID-19 cases grows to 27 as Ontario announces three new ones

READ MORE: Over 88,000 infected globally, 3,000 dead as COVID-19 outbreak continues


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

February 17, 2021 - Kaelyn (L) and Costin Campbell are Goldstream News Gazette 2021 Local Heroes.
Pint-sized duo inspires others to be green

Costin and Kaelyn Campbell are this year’s Environmental Heroes

Erin Oldman received a scholarship through Royal Roads University (RRU), called the Legacy Award, which is given out once every five years. Oldman graduated from RRU with a Masters of Arts in Human Security and Peacebuilding, and is using the award to establish a charity called International Humanitarian Assessments, which helps people in war-torn areas of the Middle East. (Photo contributed by Erin Oldman)
Royal Roads University graduate receives $25,000 award

Erin Oldman will use the award to establish a charity in the Middle East

Sandy Carmichael is a Goldstream Gazette 2021 Local Hero as Seniors’ Champion. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Worker bee returns to volunteer: Sandy Carmichael a fixture at Langford Royal Canadian Legion

Sandy Carmichael is the 2021 recipient of the Seniors’ Champion Award

SD 62 (Sooke) has announced a COVID-19 exposure at David Cameron Elementary in Colwood. Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24. (Black Press Media File).
COVID-19 exposure at Colwood’s David Cameron Elementary

Potential exposure dates are Monday, Feb. 22; Tuesday, Feb. 23; and Wednesday, Feb. 24.

Central Saanich has received funding for a new multi-use pathway that promises to improve access to Butchart Gardens. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich receives grant for multi-use pathway to Butchart Gardens

Province funds entirety of $322,800 project through economic recovery grant program

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Lone orca from a pod that made its way north from Georgia Strait and into Discovery Passage on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Ella Smiley/<a href="https://www.facebook.com/Comoxvalleywildlifesightings/?ref=page_internal" target="_blank">Comox Valley Wildlife Sightings </a>
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic oportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from BC Ferries staff

After Dasher made a dash, staff in Comox found her and got her home safe

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Most Read