Hong Kong to quarantine people from mainland China amid coronavirus outbreak

The latest:

  • Hong Kong says all visitors from mainland China will undergo 14-day quarantine amid coronavirus concern.
  • China says as of Wednesday there have been 490 deaths and 24,324 confirmed cases on the mainland.
  • 2 cruise ships under quarantine 1 off Japan, 1 in Hong Kong.
  • B.C. reports a 2nd presumptive case of coronavirus. Woman in her 50s had been in contact with family members who had been in Hubei province, provincial health officials say.
  • Public Health Agency of Canada says risk to Canadians from coronavirus low.

Hong Kong’s leader says all people entering from the mainland, including Hong Kong residents, will be required to undergo 14 days of quarantine because of the coronavirus outbreak. Carrie Lam said the measure will take effect on Saturday to allow Hong Kong day travellers to make necessary arrangements.

She said the government is looking for more quarantine facilities in addition to three current camps.

Lam said the government has been vigilant and isn’t shying away from introducing stringent measures to stem the spread of the virus. Thousands of medical workers have gone on strike in the territory to demand that the border with the mainland be completely shut. The city government has kept two crossings open, in part to allow food from the mainland to enter.

She also said two cruise terminals — including one where a cruise ship is currently under quarantine — will be shut down.

Another cruise ship is under quarantine at a Japanese port. Princess Cruises told CBC News that there were 251 Canadians on the Diamond Princess, which is currently off the Japanese coast. None of the Canadians tested positive for coronavirus in the first step of a screening process, an email from the company said.

Lam said she remains optimistic that the city can overcome the epidemic but urged all citizens to “put aside our differences and get our act together.”

The viral outbreak has infected more than 24,500 people globally.

As of Wednesday, China had reported 490 deaths and 24,324 confirmed cases on the mainland. In addition, Hong Kong has had 17 cases, including one death. Macao has had 10 cases. Most of the deaths have been in central Hubei province, where illnesses from the new type of coronavirus were first detected in December.

Residents wearing masks and raincoats volunteer to take the temperatures of passengers at a bus stop at Tin Shui Wai, a border town in Hong Kong, on Tuesday. Everyone entering Hong Kong from mainland China will soon be subject to a 14-day quarantine. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

Health officials in British Columbia announced on Tuesday another presumptive coronavirus case. Dr. Bonnie Henry said the most recent suspected case is a woman in her 50s who lives in the Vancouver area. Members of her family had been in Hubei province, Henry said.

The family members have been minimizing contact with people outside the woman’s home, where they are staying. Henry said the woman is isolated and in stable condition at home and Vancouver Coastal Health is following up with anyone the woman has been in contact with.

If the B.C. case is confirmed by the national testing laboratory in Winnipeg, it would be Canada’s fifth confirmed case. The Public Health Agency of Canada says the risk to Canadians from coronavirus is low. 

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