By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – Canada reported its first death from the coronavirus Monday, a male in his 80s who had existing health problems. He was a resident of a Vancouver nursing home.
“This is obviously a very sad day for all of us, but especially for the family and loved ones of the man who passed away at the Lynn Valley care home,” said British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix.
A female in her 70s in the home has also tested positive for the COVID-19 and is in stable condition.
Also Monday, Canadian health officials warned citizens to avoid “all cruise travel” because the close quarters and high population of the ships are a prime breeding ground where the virus can quickly go from human to human.
“Today, the Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that Canadians should avoid all cruise ship travel due to COVID-19,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public officer of health. “The virus can spread quickly on cruise ships due to the close contact between passengers.”
Even as the warning was being issued, 237 Canadians are stuck on board a cruise ship off the coast of California. The ship’s owner, Holland America, has agreed to pay the costs of having the Canadians returned home, where they will be quarantined for 14 days at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, about 90 miles east of Toronto.
There are more than 3,500 on the ship and 21 of them have the virus.
As of Monday, there are 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada – 34 in Ontario, 32 in British Columbia, and four in both Quebec and Alberta.
More than 110,000 people in over 100 countries have tested positive for the virus.