The B.C. government has placed a ban on all events with more than 250 people amid growing concerns around the spread of COVID-19.
“We have to do our best to slow transmissions here in British Columbia,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said during a daily briefing about the coronavirus on Thursday.
The news comes as the province confirmed seven more people infected with the novel coronavirus in the province, bringing the total to 53 cases and one death.
“We are looking at event organizers — whether it’s community events, whether it’s large events — to look at alternatives they can use to keep that connectedness and social cohesiveness,” Henry said.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak as a pandemic. Since then, major sports organizations, such as the NHL and NBA, have postponed games until further notice. Larger events, including the Vancouver Auto Show and Vancouver Sun Run have also been cancelled.
B.C. health officials are also recommending people don’t travel outside Canada.
Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix said Thursday that B.C. residents have a choice whether they want to risk going to the U.S. or another country, but if they do they should expect to be in isolation for 14 days when they return.
“The situation is just too risky right now,” Henry told reporters.