On Thursday morning, Manitoba confirmed its first case of coronavirus, and the NBA announced a player from the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus and from there it spiralled into cancellation after cancellation as the world deals with the fallout from the spread of coronavirus. The novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, has been classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization after it spread worldwide — with major hotspots in China, Iran and Italy.
The effects are being felt world wide, impacting travel, high level government meetings, universities and school, and professional sports. Many cancellations were reported on Thursday, March 12.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has self-isolated as his wife, Sophie awaits test results for COVID-19. Sophie Trudeau recently travelled to the UK and returned home with flu-like symptoms. The family says they are self-isolating out of an abundance of caution.
Professional sports organizations including the NBA, MLS, NHL, MLB, AHL are suspending their seasons effective immediately. New York announces that all Broadway shows will be cancelled through April 12. It has also banned all gatherings of 500 people or more.
President Trump has banned all travel to and from Europe to the USA for thirty days. Reports are that he is also considering banning travel to and from California and Washington State as they are particularly hard hit with cases of COVID-19. The state of Ohio has shut down all public schools.
Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen says a woman who recently travelled to the Philippines has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He says she is isolated at home.
Manitoba’s chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says the province was prepared to rapidly respond. He says the amount of testing has significantly increased and international travellers are encouraged to self-monitor and get tested.
Roussin says it’s time for people in Manitoba to begin social-distancing strategies — such as not shaking hands and avoiding crowded events — to limit chances of being exposed.
Government of Manitoba update:
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve rapidly worldwide with more countries reporting cases and an overall increase in case numbers. Manitoba announced its first laboratory-confirmed presumptive positive COVID-19 case on March 12.
As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, we all have a role to play in slowing its spread and minimizing its impact on our health care system and in our communities.
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living is recommending the following:
Strategies for all Manitobans:
• minimizing prolonged (more than 10 minutes), close (less than two meters/ six feet) contact between other individuals in public,
• avoiding greetings that involve touching such as handshakes,
• disinfecting frequently used surfaces,
• following public health advice related to self-monitoring and self-isolation if you have travelled or have been exposed to someone ill with the virus, and
• considering avoiding travel, crowded places and events, especially if you are at higher risk (e.g. seniors and those with underlying medical conditions)
Strategies for Schools and Educational Institutions:
• ensuring ill staff and students stay home from school, and supporting those who are self-isolating at home to ensure they do not fall behind in their studies,
• reducing large group, and crowded activities,
• increasing desk distance between students, and
• considering implementing virtual or online classrooms, to reduce the number of people in classrooms
Strategies for Employers:
• relaxing sick leave policies, such as the requirement for sick notes, to encourage those who are ill to say home and prevent the spread of illness to co-workers or customers
• allowing employees to work from home if possible
• discontinuing non-essential work-related travel outside of Manitoba, and
• encouraging virtual meetings to reduce prolonged, close contact between individuals.