Nova Scotia·Video

Business closure over coronavirus fear is unnecessary, says top N.S. health official

Nova Scotia's chief medical officer says it is unfortunate and unnecessary that a Chinese restaurant in Cape Breton closed its doors temporarily due to fears over the coronavirus.

Chief medical officer says the risk from China's coronavirus outbreak is 'extremely low' in Nova Scotia

Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer, says only one person in the province has been found with a travel history and symptoms that could indicate coronavirus infection, and that person tested negative. (CBC)

Nova Scotia's chief medical officer says it is unfortunate and unnecessary that a Chinese restaurant in Cape Breton closed its doors temporarily due to fears over the coronavirus.

Dr. Robert Strang said the coronavirus has not been found in the province and is not likely to spread here.

"I know that there's a lot of concern about this," he said. "People look at the media and the media is focused on the number of cases and the number of people dying and it's a significant issue in China, but we need to put that into the Canadian context.

"While I appreciate why people are concerned and even fearful, the risk in Canada and Nova Scotia remains extremely low."

Strang said only one person in the province has been found with a travel history and symptoms that could indicate coronavirus infection, and that person tested negative.

Business closure over coronavirus fear is unnecessary, says top N.S. health official

3 years ago
Duration 2:03
Nova Scotia's chief medical officer says it is unfortunate and unnecessary that a Chinese restaurant in Cape Breton closed its doors temporarily due to fears over the coronavirus.

Ken Zhou, owner of the Fortune Star restaurant in Sydney, said he was worried about coronavirus after hearing reports from his family in China.

"The government [in China] is doing a really good job asking everybody, 'Don't come by, don't get together,'" he said. "My mother-in-law is always asking me, 'Don't let the kid go to school, too,' but I am very worried."

Zhou initially posted a sign on his restaurant entrance saying no Chinese customers would be served inside, but delivery would be available.

However, after a backlash in the community, Zhou said he simply closed down for a couple of weeks.

Zhou said he was also concerned about the possibility of Chinese customers having just returned from China bringing the virus back with them.

Ken Zhou, owner of the Fortune Star restaurant in Sydney, N.S., says he initially posted a sign saying Chinese customers could get delivery only, but after a backlash, he simply closed for a couple of weeks. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

Strang said anyone who travelled to China for Christmas is past the incubation period now.

"If people have been back here from China ... for more than two weeks and they're not sick, they do not have to worry about coronavirus," he said.

There is no evidence of the virus spreading into the general population in Canada, Strang said, and all the cases found here have been isolated and contained.

Residents wearing masks and raincoats volunteer to take the temperatures of passengers at a bus stop at Tin Shui Wai, a border town in Hong Kong, on Tuesday. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Ayers

Reporter/Editor

Tom Ayers has been a reporter and editor for 36 years. He has spent half of them covering Cape Breton and Nova Scotia stories. You can reach him at tom.ayers@cbc.ca.

With files from Gary Mansfield

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