Nova Scotia is moving to restrict access to long-term care homes for those who have travelled internationally, the province announced on Monday.
The move comes after new national screening protocols were established in response to the ongoing spread of the novel coronavirus.
A release from Nova Scotia’s department of health said that anyone who has travelled outside of Canada may have come in contact with COVID-19 and should closely monitor their health for at least 14 days after returning home.
Those who start to feel unwell should stay at home and self-isolate away from the public.
Individuals who develop a fever with a temperature of 38 C and/or a cough should call 811 to receive an assessment, the province said.
“We are expanding our screening to include travel outside of the country as the virus continues to spread,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health.
“With more cases expected in Canada and spread into the community likely, we are adapting our processes to respond to this rapidly evolving situation.”
At a press conference on Monday, Strang asked that those looking for information on the novel coronavirus go the government’s website, rather than call into the provincial health line.
“It’s really important that we preserve 811 for people who have travelled recently,” said Strang.
Strang said it was up to individual families to make their own decisions but stressed that those with plans to travel outside of Canada for March break may face restrictions if they are ill when they return.
On Monday, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommended against “all cruise ship travel” as a result of fear over COVID-19.
Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer, said in a press conference in Ottawa on Monday that the close quarters on cruise ships offer an environment where the virus can spread quickly, and Canadians should not take cruises for the foreseeable future.
There have been hundreds of cases of COVID-19 reported on cruise ships since the outbreak began, including dozens of cases of Canadians infected on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship that has been quarantined for weeks at the harbour in Japan.
A second cruise ship, the Grand Princess, is quarantined off the coast of California over 21 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus.
Strang strongly endorsed the public health agency’s recommendation at his press conference later in the day.
He also confirmed once again that there have been no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Nova Scotia.
He said between 20 and 30 people have been tested, with all results coming back negative.
Two Canadian Armed Forces members who self-isolated at CFB Greenwood in Nova Scotia after undergoing tests for COVID-19 when they returned from Italy were declared to have a clean bill of health over the weekend.
According to Johns Hopkins CSSE, there are more than 111,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide with 3,892 deaths as of Monday.
The health department is also reminding individuals that it is important to practice good handwashing hygiene, use cough etiquette, avoid touching their face and regularly disinfect high-touch surfaces.
With files from The Canadian Press and Amanda Connolly