Overhead view of Sidney | February 21, 2016 Image by Scott Kepkay‎

As news continues to roll out on the coronavirus, the Town of Sidney has announced it is restricting public access to all municipal buildings as a precautionary measure during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The closure includes the municipal hall, the community safety building, public works and parks yard, and driver’s services – all essential services will continue.

In an email response to Victoria Buzz, the town said it is still working details on how the driving services will operate, but for now, “people can phone or email if they have specific needs or some things can be done online.”

During this time, residents can pay their bills online, drop payments in the letterbox at the Town Hall, or pay at their financial institution.

In the release, the town also announced it will live-stream council meetings on its homepage – they’re asking the public not to attend tonight’s meeting.

“Residents are encouraged to follow safe practices as outlined by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and to stay home if they are sick,” the town said in its release.

“The Town of Sidney assures residents that we have been closely monitoring and pre-planning for the COVID-19 situation since the initial outbreak and continue to monitor and plan next steps to ensure the safety of all Sidney residents.”

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

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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