A Princess cruise ship departing San Francisco. (Liji Jinaraj/Flickr photo)

BREAKING: 235 Canadians on cruise ship held for COVID-19 testing off California coast

Previous passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19

There are 235 Canadians on the passenger manifest for a cruise ship that is being held off the coast of California for coronavirus testing.

Global Affairs Canada says there are no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus on the ship.

But the federal department says previous passengers of the Grand Princess cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, which is the respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus that first appeared in China last year.

The federal department says it is in contact with the cruise line and local authorities and is monitoring developments closely.

Any Canadians who need emergency assistance are being asked to call the Canadian consulate general in San Francisco.

Earlier Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “knee-jerk” reactions to the outbreak will not keep people safe as he defended Canada’s decision not to close its borders to foreign nationals coming from regions where the outbreak is spreading.

Misinformation being spread about the virus, which can cause a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, is having negative impacts on some communities’ ability to keep their populations safe, Trudeau warned while speaking to reporters in Toronto.

ALSO READ: Two post-secondary schools in Vancouver close over COVID-19 concern

“We’re going to stay focused on doing the things that actually matter: on empowering Canadians to make the right decisions for their own health, for their families’ health, listening to experts, working to co-ordinate with health authorities across the country, including in all provinces and territories and ensuring that our response is active and up to date every step of the way.”

Australia has banned travellers from South Korea who aren’t Australian citizens or permanent residents, following similar bans for China and Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump boasted on Twitter Thursday that U.S. border restrictions, which includes a travel ban on any foreign national who has travelled to Iran, are the reason U.S. illnesses and deaths related to COVID-19 has remained low.

Trump characterized his country’s border measures as ”quick action on closing our borders.”

Other countries have a right to make different decisions in dealing with this outbreak, Trudeau said, but Canada is taking its lead from the World Health Organization and other health experts here and abroad.

“We know that keeping Canadians safe needs to be done in the right way and we’re going to keep doing the things that actually keep Canadians safe,” he said. “There is a lot of misinformation out there, there is a lot of knee-jerk reaction that isn’t keeping people safe, that is having real challenging impacts on communities and on community safety.”

ALSO READ: Seattle-area officials buy $4 million ‘quarantine’ motel

The WHO has advised against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries dealing with COVID-19 cases, citing evidence showing that restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies is ineffective in most situations and may have a significant economic and social impact.

However, the federal government is stepping up its travel advice for Canadians — now warning against all travel to Iran due to COVID-19 concerns.

Global Affairs Canada posted a new alert Thursday morning, upgrading an advisory against non-essential travel to say that nobody should go.

The warning says that travel restrictions imposed to control the spread of the new coronavirus are making it increasingly difficult to leave Iran.

And because Iran doesn’t recognize dual citizenship, Iranian-Canadians who might go for a visit likely wouldn’t be able to get any help from Canadian officials to leave.

The Canadian government has warned against non-essential travel to China and all travel to the province where the new virus first broke out.

It also says to be extremely cautious about travel to Japan.

Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Just Posted

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Hospital’s Chief of Staff asks residents for help containing COVID-19

Invermere & District Hospital Chief of Staff says COVID-19 cases here, caution and care needed

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

BREAKING: First COVID-19 outbreak in Interior Health identified at Okanagan garden centre

The outbreak was identified among a group of temporary foreign workers

Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Two arrested after man lies about COVID-19 illness to stay in Victoria Airbnb for free

Victoria Police found stolen goods inside the occupied unit

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

No laws in B.C. to force businesses to offer refunds, even during a pandemic

Black Press Media talks to Consumer Protection BC on how to navigate during COVID-19

COVID-19 essential workers can apply for B.C. pre-school child care

Parent referral opens, providers offered emergency funding

Most abiding by COVID-19 rules, back fines, arrests of those who aren’t: poll

But 64 per cent said they’ve personally witnessed people not respecting the measures

Most Read