A COVID-19 sign is pictured on a kiosk as international travellers arrive at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Monday, March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

A COVID-19 sign is pictured on a kiosk as international travellers arrive at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C. Monday, March 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Borders, cases, bans: What you need to know about Canada and B.C.’s COVID-19 response

With more than 300 cases and four deaths, Canada and B.C. are taking action

With at least 324 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 103 of them in B.C., provincial and federal officials have put in stringent new measures to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Currently, Canada has recorded four deaths due to COVID-19, all in B.C.

1. Canada closes borders to almost all foreigners to slow spread of COVID-19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau closed Canada’s borders to all but Canadian citizens, permanent residents, and citizens of the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean. Trade and commerce will also be allowed to travel across the border.

READ MORE: Canada to close borders to most foreigners, but not to U.S., to slow spread of COVID-19

2. B.C. records three more deaths, four total due to COVID-19

Canada has seen four deaths as a result of COVID-19, all in B.C. Dr. Bonnie Henry said all the deaths have been at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver.

READ MORE: Three more COVID-19 deaths at B.C. care home, as number of cases grows to 103

3. Ban on all gatherings of 50 or more people in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry announced a province-wide ban on all gatherings of 50 or more people, tightening measures taken last week. On bars and restaurants, Henry said large establishments that could not abide by the new rules would have to find a way to slow down their operations. Stores like Tim Hortons and Starbucks began to clear out seating as a result of novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: ‘It’s going to be hard’: B.C. bans gatherings of 50+ people to slow COVID-19 transmission

FILE – Many restaurants will have to switch to drive-thrus, delivery or take-out as B.C. brings in a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

4. B.C to cancel all elective surgeries, dentists to cancel non-essential work

Hospitals in B.C. will be cancelling all non-essential surgeries to free up space and staff for novel coronavirus-related cases. Dentists in the province will also halt all work that doesn’t result from acute pain, trauma or infection. Pharmacists will also be able to extend prescriptions without a doctor’s approval.

READ MORE: B.C. hospitals start cancelling elective surgeries in COVID-19 preparations

READ MORE: B.C. dentists to suspend all elective, non-essential dental work due to COVID-19

5. No word on B.C. schools yet

The province’s schools are out for spring break right now but Health Minister Adrian Dix said a decision on what to do would come Tuesday.

READ MORE: ‘Formal announcement’ on B.C. school openings or closures amid COVID-19 expected Tuesday


@katslepian

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