Breaking News: Gatherings of more than 250 people are banned in B.C. due to COVID-19

In a press conference Thursday afternoon, shortly after Alberta made a similar confirmation, the B.C. government announced it is banning all events and gatherings with more than 250 people, in an effort to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the province. Organizers are being urged to immediately cancel those events and find alternatives.

“It is a number we think has some rationale to it, in that over that large group it’s really challenging to put into place those social distancing measures that protect people and prevent transmission of respiratory infections,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry in a news conference.

“We are looking at event organizers, whether its community events, whether it’s large events, to look at alternatives they can use to keep that connectedness and social cohesiveness.”

British Columbia‘s top doctor, alongside B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix, also announced that anyone travelling outside of Canada will be required to stay away from work and school for two weeks following their return to B.C.

The province is “strongly advising against” all non-essential trips outside of the country, even to the U.S. 

The provincial number of infections of the COVID-19 virus has now reached 53 cases, with seven new cases being discovered in the last 24 hours.

“Most concerning” of these new cases is the second outbreak of the virus at a long time seniors care home, at West Vancouver‘s Hollyburn House. Officials confirmed that a 90 year old resident, and two health-care workers, are the facility have tested positive, with the workers now being isolated to recover at home. The care workers also work at the Lynn Valley Care Centre, which was had a previous identified outbreak.

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a global pandemic. Globally, 134,540 cases have been identified, with nearly 5000 deaths recorded to date.

138 cases of the COVID-19 virus have been identified in Canada, with numbers unfortunately expected to rise.