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Federal health minister meets with Vancouver's Chinese community about COVID-19
VANCOUVER -- Canada's federal health minister and Vancouver's mayor met with members of the city's Chinese-Canadian community Monday to discuss COVID-19 and the impacts it's having on local businesses.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Patty Hajdu, the federal health minister, spoke at the Chinese Culture Centre of Greater Vancouver at 9 a.m. in an event organized with the ICONNBC Business Association.
"The nature of our conversation was just the impact that COVID-19, the coronavirus outbreak is having on their businesses," Hajdu told reporters after meeting with local business owners, adding that "fear and misinformation" is resulting in "very difficult times for the Chinese-Canadian community."
Hajdu also said that some are suggesting Canada should close its borders to China, but said doing so could lead to severe, long-term implications including potentially being unable to detect where people are arriving from into Canada and hindering transparency on global health issues.
"I would say that Canada is following advice from the World Health Organization," she said.
The meeting came days after B.C.'s fifth case of COVID-19, formerly referred to as novel coronavirus, was announced during an update from provincial health officials.
The new patient is a woman in her 30s, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a news conference Friday. The woman is currently in isolation at home and is doing well.
She had flown from Shanghai to Vancouver, Henry said, adding that while the risk is very low for others who were on the flight, health officials are working to get a list of all passengers who were on the same plane.
To date, over 500 people and more than 750 samples have been tested in the province.
"The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time. We continue to monitor the outbreak closely and will notify the public if the measures in B.C. change," said a joint statement from Henry and B.C.'s health minister, Adrian Dix.
The other four people who were confirmed to have COVID-19 in B.C. are also recovering in their homes.