Province enacts measures to quell COVID-19’s advance

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Aggressive new measures to slow COVID-19 in British Columbia announced today will prohibit all public gatherings of more than 250 people, and strongly discourage any nonessential travel outside of Canada.

Anyone who does choose to travel will be asked to stay home from work or school for 14 days after they return.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during the media briefing with B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix the 250-limit for public gatherings is not a scientific number but appears most prudent. Authorities are asking employers to facilitate working from home and to maintain distances between people in work places when possible.

“These are measures for now. They’re not forever,” Henry said.

The health authorities will be working with schools and ministry of education on how handle those workplace measures. They don’t feel for now it’s appropriate to close schools. Henry said the timing of spring break, which starts on Monday for most of the province, is fortunate because it gives officials time to work with educators to make sure the correct policy is in place in the coming weeks.

“This is something we will be reviewing daily,” Henry said, adding officials will continue to reassess daily and weekly. “I believe these actions are necessary right now to slow down the spread of the disease and to protect our communities in British Columbia.”

Henry said the new measures are important to stop the spread of the virus and flatten the curve of infection to prevent transmission to the most vulnerable and protect the health care system from being overwhelmed.

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