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 infection 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 province’s fifth presumed case of coronavirus after a woman in her 30s returned from Shanghai, China, through Vancouver’s airport before travelling by car to her home in the Interior.

Henry said that woman still has symptoms and is in stable condition in isolation at her home. She said the woman was wearing a mask while travelling, and they have identified a small number of people who had close contact with her.

Henry said 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 province’s second, third and fourth cases are also symptom-free and she expects their test results will come back negative shortly.

Eight cases of COVID-19 have been diagnosed in Canada. Most of them were people who had come from Hubei province in China, considered the epicentre for the illness.

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 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.

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