(Greater Victoria Public Library)

All 12 branches of the Greater Victoria Public Library will be shutting down as of 6 p.m. on Monday evening.

This announcement was made as a precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing global pandemic.

“In light of the recommendations of the BC Ministry of Health, Health Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we have decided to close the library to help protect the community during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CEO Maureen Sawa in a statement.

“Many library resources are available remotely through our virtual branch,” Sawa said, noting GVPL offers more than 25 platforms to read, watch, listen and learn online from home or anywhere with an Internet connection.

All loan periods for items will be extended six weeks from Tuesday, March 17th to Tuesday, April 28.

The GVPL is also asking the public to not return library items through branch book drops during the library system closure.

See all the latest updates about the global COVID-19 pandemic on Vancouver Island

Earlier today, the City of Langford announced closures of two recreation centres and urged more public spaces to shut down in order to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 transmission.

In a message to Victoria Buzz this morning, Victoria mayor Lisa Helps said an updated announcement about the city’s response to COVID-19 will be made after the federal and provincial press conferences this morning.

This announcement is expected to be made at 3 p.m. today.

There are now 30 new cases of novel coronavirus in B.C., including seven on Vancouver Island, bringing the total number of cases to 103 in the province.

Six people are now in acute care in hospital, while everyone else is recovering at home in isolation, in stable condition. Three people have died due to novel coronavirus, all of whom were residents at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver. This brings the COVID-19 death toll to four in B.C.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.

Designated exceptions to this rule include U.S. citizens, airline crews, diplomats, and people whose immediate families are Canadian.

Moreover international flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

Further federal measures to financially support Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable population, are expected to be announced on Tuesday.

The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.

Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 175,769.

Nearly 6,800 people have died from the illness and 77,868 have made a full recovery.

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