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No new coronavirus signs at YVR, despite Iran case

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There are no plans to change the signage at YVR or adjust the questions asked of arriving passengers, despite a woman being diagnosed with coronavirus after travelling in Iran.

To date, much of the signage placed around the terminals at Vancouver Airport have made specific reference to passengers who’ve travelled from China, the epicentre of the global outbreak.

However, when asked about the border screening process, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr, Theresa Tam, told media Friday afternoon that public health’s “layered response” is working well.

“Right now. What we have in place has been working,” said Tam.

“It’s about every traveller being vigilant and what to do if they get sick. It’s not just about China, it’s about realizing (coronavirus) is everywhere.”

All of the reported cases of the virus in Iran have been in the Qom region, just south of Tehran.

Asked if the woman who flew into YVR recently from Iran had been to the Qom area of the country, Tam said she believed that B.C.’s health authorities are looking into that.

“I didn’t get any indication that she’s been there. That needs further investigation,” she added.

A sixth case of coronavirus was confirmed in B.C. on Thursday evening.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s top medical health officer, told media the woman in her 30s lives in the Fraser Health region and had recently visited Iran.

By Friday, Iran has 18 confirmed cases of coronavirus and four deaths.

Henry said the woman attended a local hospital with flu-like symptoms when she arrived back in B.C. and was then asked to go into isolation at her home, where her family members are also being monitored. The woman’s infection is relatively mild, added Henry.

“She returned (from Iran) this week and we are looking at all her movements over the last few days,” said Henry, adding that the health authority will be working with national and international colleagues to better understand where the woman may have been exposed to the virus.

“We were surprised, as you can imagine,” said Henry, referring to the case.

“It could be an indicator that there’s more wide-spread transmission. This is what we call an indicator or a sentinel event.”

The Fraser Health region stretches from Delta in the west to Hope in the east and White Rock in the south.

Today’s announcement brings Canada’s total confirmed cases of the virus to nine. Three of the cases are patients in Ontario.

Last week, health officials confirmed B.C.’s fifth case, a woman in her 30s who flew into Vancouver International Airport from Shanghai, and then travelled via private car to her home in the Interior region.

While she still has symptoms, Henry told media this week she is “doing well” in isolation at home.

Globally, as of Thursday evening, there has been 76,722 cases of coronavirus reported, which resulted in 2,247 deaths, mostly in China’s Hubei province.

About 18,500 of the reported cases have recovered.

On Wednesday, Feb. 19, Henry announced that the province’s first coronavirus patient — who lives in the Vancouver Coastal Health region — has fully recovered and is out of isolation.

B.C.’s second, third and fourth cases, announced two weeks ago, who are all related, are still at home in isolation.

Two of those patients are visitors from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

Canada’s first coronavirus case, a man in his 50s in Toronto, has also recovered, Ontario health officials announced Thursday.

On Thursday, Canadians aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship, docked in Japan, were removed from the ship after being quarantined there for the past 14 days. Hundreds of the ship’s passengers tested positive for coronavirus.

The Canadians who did not test positive for the virus are now onboard a repatriation flight and are expected to arrive at CFB Trenton early Friday morning.

They will then be transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ont. for another two-week quarantine.

Meanwhile the passengers from the first repatriation flight, which flew out of Wuhan Feb. 6, are completing their 14-day quarantine and are expected to go home Friday.

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Dutch former queen Beatrix tests positive for COVID-19

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Dutch former queen Beatrix, 83, has tested positive for COVID-19, the royal information service RVD said in a statement Saturday.

Princess Beatrix, as she has been known since her abdication in 2013, got tested after coming down with “mild cold symptoms”, the statement said.

“The princess is at home in isolation and adheres to the rules of life for people who have tested positive,” it added.

The Netherlands has been experiencing a record-breaking wave of COVID-19 cases that is threatening to overwhelm the country’s healthcare system.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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‘I was shocked’: Mother, child mistakenly given COVID-19 vaccine instead of flu shot – Comox Valley Record

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A Manitoba mother says a routine appointment for her and her three-year-old to get flu shots ended in frustration and mixed messages after they were each mistakenly given an adult dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Jenna Bardarson is calling for policy changes at the province’s vaccination centres to make sure that doesn’t happen to another family.

The shots were administered on Nov. 24 at the Keystone Centre in Brandon.

Bardarson says that shortly after she and her daughter, Dali, got their shots, the health worker who had given them excused herself to speak with a supervisor. When the worker returned, she told them she had made a mistake and given them both the adult Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

“I was shocked. I didn’t know what to say. My immediate concerns were, of course, would my daughter be OK and also who could I speak to about this,” Bardarson said in online social media messages Friday to The Canadian Press.

Once she got home, Bardarson made multiple calls to different departments with the regional medical authority, hoping to speak with someone about the error and her concerns, she said.

She said no one was able to provide her with the answers or information she needed. “The conversations with various Prairie Mountain Health members have been frustrating, to say the least.”

Bardarson said she already had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and was due for her booster shot next month. Her daughter is too young to be eligible.

Health Canada last month approved a pediatric version of the Pfizer shot for children ages five to 11, but it has not yet approved a vaccine for those under five.

Bardarson said she and her daughter had headaches and sore arms the following day. Her daughter had no appetite and was throwing up.

Manitoba Health confirmed the mistake in a statement and said staff from Prairie Mountain have reached out to the mother to discuss what happened as well as to provide an update on an investigation.

“Patient safety is a critical aspect of all health-care services in Manitoba. We are constantly reviewing our processes to ensure that our systems support our staff in preventing errors,” it said.

“In this case … our team reviewed the existing processes to make adjustments that would help avoid a similar error from occurring in the future.”

Bardarson said the health region has not provided her with updated information on the investigation and would not discuss any consequences the health worker may have faced.

Manitoba Health said no further action would be taken against the worker, because she immediately recognized the error and told a supervisor.

For Bardarson, that’s not enough.

“I by no means want her fired; however, there should be some sort of measures in place for harm reduction.”

Bardarson suggested taking away the worker’s injection privileges or enhanced supervision during vaccinations.

She said she would also like to see areas at vaccination centres separated by vaccine types, instead of having different vaccines offered in the same booth.

Manitoba Health could not say if others have been given a COVID-19 vaccine by mistake, but acknowledged that medication errors, although rare, do occur. It added that Bardarson was provided with information about the risks of the COVID-19 vaccine, which in this case it says are low.

Health Canada said it is not in charge of immunization monitoring and could not comment on whether similar mistakes have occurred in other parts of the country.

– Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

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Two hippos in Belgian zoo test positive for COVID-19

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Two hippos have tested positive for COVID-19 at Antwerp Zoo in Belgium in what could be the first reported cases in the species, zoo staff said.

Hippos Imani, aged 14, and 41-year-old Hermien have no symptoms apart from a runny nose, but the zoo said the pair had been put into quarantine as a precaution.

“To my knowledge, this is the first time in this species. Worldwide, this virus has been reported mainly in great apes and felines,” said the zoo’s vet, Francis Vercammen.

The coronavirus is thought to have jumped from an animal to a human, and it is proved to have passed from humans to animals.

Pets including cats, dogs and ferrets have become infected following contact with their owners, while in zoos, cases have been reported in animals such as big cats, otters, primates and hyenas.

The disease has also spread in mink farms and to wild animals, such as deer.

Antwerp Zoo is investigating the causes of the contagion. None of the zookeepers had recently shown COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for the virus, the zoo said.

 

(Reporting by Francesco Guarascio; Editing by Helen Popper)

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