Metro Vancouver schools cancel trips over COVID-19 outbreak
VANCOUVER -- Three school districts have decided to cancel some overseas trips amid concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak.
On Wednesday, the Vancouver School Board said three trips – two to Japan and one to Italy and France – had been cancelled. The decision was made "due to the risk of harm that might occur from COVID-19."
Late Tuesday, the Surrey School District sent a letter to parents saying it was cancelling trips "to Italy, Japan and France due to the risk of harm for students and staff." North Vancouver said two international trips have also been cancelled to Italy and Japan, while six others were being monitored. The Vancouver School Board and Burnaby School District are assessing trips on a case-by-case basis.
"We've been in discussions with the schools across B.C. and across Canada about the risks and the potential, so certainly we've recommended people cancel or postpone trips to places that have been affected," provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday.
It’s a message travel doctor, Dr. Gio Miletto, said everyone should listen to.
"The obvious thing to consider is - do you have to go to the destination where there is known COVID-19 outbreaks," Miletto told CTV News.
He said health officials should be giving more details about how people can protect themselves.
"This is part of the problem. We don't exactly know too much about this virus. We don't know what the incubation period is. We don't know how many people one person will infect. We don't know if you can catch it twice," said Miletto. "We don’t know if you can have it and not have any symptoms. There’s a lot of unknowns and part of the problem there is that into the unknown, there’s a vacuum of knowledge."
Henry is advising people to think carefully about their travel destinations.
"This (situation) can change very rapidly. We've seen that. There may not be access to things like healthcare in a place you're going if they have an outbreak of COVID-19 in that area, and we know they can be very suddenly put on very extreme measures. So what is your tolerance for being caught in a quarantine in another country at this point in time?"