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B.C. has tested 114 people for the novel coronavirus, but has only confirmed 1 case

Click to play video 'More than 100 people tested in B.C. for coronavirus' More than 100 people tested in B.C. for coronavirus
More than 100 people have now been tested in B.C. for the coronavirus but so far, there remains just one confirmed case in this province. The provincial health officer is reassuring British Columbians that the risk is still very low. Aaron McArthur reports.

B.C.’s top doctor and minister of health said Friday that 114 people in the province have been tested for novel coronavirus, but that so far just one case has been confirmed.

Chief medical health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix also addressed what the declaration Thursday of an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) means for B.C.

Click to play video 'World Health Organization declares coronavirus outbreak a ‘global health emergency’' World Health Organization declares coronavirus outbreak a ‘global health emergency’
World Health Organization declares coronavirus outbreak a ‘global health emergency’

Henry said the declaration was not a surprise, and will help officials better coordinate resources from countries around the world to prevent the spread of the virus.

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However, she said it would not change much in B.C.’s response, and that the province wasn’t looking at quarantining anyone travelling from or evacuated from Wuhan.

READ MORE: B.C. coronavirus case now confirmed after lab tests come back positive, health officer says

“I believe that quarantining is a very extreme measure, and it is not in my opinion warranted,” said Henry.

“We do of course want to make sure that we are monitoring people’s health very carefully, particularly people that have been in those areas.”

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B.C. top doctor explains why province is focusing on coronavirus

Henry said that health officials had a “very low threshold” for testing anyone with concerning travel or contact history, and that she was confident they were being overcautious.

Henry also committed to providing regular coronavirus updates every Tuesday, and that the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) would report new test numbers on its website every Friday.

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Click to play video 'What WHO coronavirus declaration means to B.C.' What WHO coronavirus declaration means to B.C.
What WHO coronavirus declaration means to B.C.

The only confirmed case in British Columbia remains a man in his 40s who had recently travelled to the city of Wuhan, where the outbreak originated.

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Henry said the man, who lives in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, isolated himself and contacted health authorities when he began to show symptoms. He remains in isolation at home.

“He is doing well, his condition is stable,” said Henry.

“He still has some symptoms, but he’s being closely monitored by the health services on a daily basis multiple times a day, and we expect that he will recover.”

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Coronavirus declared international public health emergency

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Health officials have stressed that the risk remains low to Canadians.

BC CDC addressed Thursday what it called “misconceptions” about the transmission of the new coronavirus, amid growing public anxiety.

READ MORE: What the BC CDC says you’re getting wrong about the novel coronavirus

The agency is reminding people that the virus is not airborne but rather is spread by droplets, such as in coughs or sneezes.

It said to contract the virus, a person must generally be in close proximity to someone who is infected and must get the droplets deep into their lungs.

Click to play video 'Condition of confirmed case of coronavirus patient in B.C.' Condition of confirmed case of coronavirus patient in B.C.
Condition of confirmed case of coronavirus patient in B.C.

It said the best way to protect yourself from the novel coronavirus remains to wash your hands frequently and not to touch your face.

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READ MORE: Coronavirus: Some ‘vulnerable’ Canadian diplomatic staff, dependants evacuated from China

The virus, which has killed 213 people so far, had spread to 23 countries as of Friday, though the vast majority of the nearly 10,000 confirmed cases remain concentrated in China.

Air Canada has suspended all flights to China until the end of February due to the outbreak.

The federal government is currently working on a plan to airlift nearly 200 Canadians trapped in the Wuhan area who have asked to leave.