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The Ministry of Health has announced three new confirmed cases of coronavirus in British Columbia, bringing the province’s total to 12.

All three individuals reside in the Vancouver Coastal Health region and have recently returned from travelling in Iran.

“Case 10 is a man in his 60s and case 11 is a woman. They have no connection to previous confirmed cases. Case 12 is a woman in her 30s and a close contact of the eighth case, previously reported on Feb. 29,” reads the statement from the Ministry of Health.

Earlier today, the Ministry reported the province’s 9th positive case, involving a man in his 50s who had returned to Fraser Valley Health Region after travelling to Iran.

Four of the 12 individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 in B.C. have recovered, while the remaining eight are in self isolation and being monitored by public health officials.

Public health authorities are reiterating the fact that the risk of spread of COVID-19 remains low in B.C. at this time. Nevertheless officials are preparing for all contingencies, including the possibility of a pandemic.

A ‘pandemic’ is defined by Merriam-Webster as ‘an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population’.

“Starting today, Canada Border Services Agency officers are taking contact information from all travellers arriving from Iran, requiring them to self-isolate for 14 days and to contact public health officials. This process is already in place for people arriving from Hubei, China,” says the Ministry.

As of March 3rd, there are now 33 cases of novel coronavirus in Canada.

Meanwhile neighbouring Washington state announced that nine people have died of COVID-19 in the past few days. The state now has a total of 27 confirmed cases.

“We are asking all travellers returning from Iran and China to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return home to Canada,” says the Ministry of Health in a statement.

“All other travellers who are returning to, or visiting, B.C. from outside Canada should monitor themselves and their children closely for symptoms and if any arise, limit their contact with others and call 811.”

As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 93,153.

Nearly 3,202 people have died from the illness and 50,934 have made a fully recovery.

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