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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Dog missing in Aldergrove since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

Humboldt Broncos Jersey Day to commence despite closed classes

Students encouraged to still wear a jersey on Monday, April 6 to honour Saskatchewan hockey team

Six-year-old Langley girl reached out, literally, to school staff

Students and families blow kisses, put hands to heart, wave, and write notes of thanks

Langley shows good grasp of social distancing

Only one major gathering has been brought to RCMP attention

Staff member diagnosed with COVID-19 at Langley Lodge seniors home, Fraser Health confirms

The health authority is at the scene of the long term care home

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

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

BC SPCA launches matching campaign to help vulnerable animals after big donations

Two BC SPCA donors have offered up to $65,000 in matching donations

Quarantined B.C. mom say pandemic has put special-needs families in ‘crisis mode’

Surrey’s Christine Williams shares family’s challenges, strengths

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

Most Read