1st person with coronavirus disease in B.C. has fully recovered, provincial health officer says

The first person confirmed to have become ill with coronavirus disease in B.C. has now fully recovered and is no longer required to stay in isolation, B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says.

Three other people in B.C. with COVID-19 are now asymptomatic, meaning they’re no longer showing symptoms of the virus, she said Wednesday. “That’s very good news.”

On Feb. 14, Henry announced the fifth case of presumed coronavirus. She said the woman still has symptoms but is in stable condition while in isolation at her home. Henry said public health officials are monitoring her closely.

Henry took a moment to advise the public that health authorities are following up all leads between those who have been confirmed and anyone they might have had contact with.

“This is the work that we do in public health in our communities,” said Henry.

She said the fifth patient flew into Vancouver, and health officials were able to contact all the travellers sitting near her on the flight to reassure them and confirm they weren’t feeling any symptoms.

The travellers were also told what to do if symptoms developed during the incubation period, Henry said, adding that officials remain in contact with them.

“So far, none of the close contacts have had any symptoms of disease,” she said.

Diamond Princess cruise ship

Cruise passengers, including 256 Canadians, who have been quarantined on a Diamond Princess cruise ship for the last two weeks, began to disembark in Japan Wednesday.

Global Affairs says 43 Canadians were among the 621 passengers aboard who have tested positive for coronavirus.

A bus carrying passengers leave the port after passengers disembarked from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020, in Yokohama, near Tokyo. (Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press)

Henry said B.C. officials have been monitoring the situation closely.

The federal government has chartered a plane to bring home Canadians who have not tested positive.

She said the plane would fly directly to Trenton, Ont., and then Cornwall, where the passengers would be required to go through another 14-day quarantine period.

About 20 Canadians on Westerdam cruise ship

Last week, quarantined passengers on the Westerdam cruise ship were allowed to disembark in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, after Holland American said no one aboard was sick.

However, it was later confirmed that an American woman who boarded a plane to Malaysia had contracted the virus.

Henry said about 20 Canadian passengers on the Westerdam travelled home to B.C. before the confirmation.

“All of them were identified at the border, and we have contacted them,” said Henry.

They have been asked to stay in self-isolation at home, she says.

Henry said the first batch of Canadians — flown home from Wuhan, China — are almost finished their quarantined period and some will soon return home to B.C.

She said nobody has tested positive for the virus.

“I think this is our opportunity to welcome them back into our community,” she said.

So far, there have been eight confirmed cases of coronavirus disease in Canada.

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