FREDERICTON (GNB) – The following statement was issued today by Premier Blaine Higgs regarding COVID-19, novel coronavirus disease:

An outbreak of COVID-19, novel coronavirus disease, a respiratory illness, first identified in Wuhan, province of Hubei, China continues to spread to other countries, including Canada and the United States. As of today, New Brunswick continues to have no confirmed cases, but we cannot be complacent. We need to take the appropriate precautions to lower the risk to all of us.

I know many people have already left or will be travelling outside of New Brunswick for the March break. For those travelling, the Public Health Agency of Canada is regularly posting travel notices. In addition, all travellers who are returning to New Brunswick, no matter where they were in the world, need to monitor themselves and their loved ones closely for symptoms, which include a fever, a cough and difficulty breathing. Anyone with those symptoms should call Tele-Care at 8-1-1 before going to a hospital or doctor’s office so that the proper precautions can be taken to reduce further spread of the disease.

All of us can also take simple actions that can help stop the spread of any type of communicable disease. Regular hand washing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth, and staying home when you are sick can greatly reduce the risk of infection spreading.

I want to assure New Brunswickers that our government officials are conducting emergency planning so that we are communicating, planning and co-ordinating with first responders, our communities and individual New Brunswickers to ensure we are ready.

I am personally having daily briefings with Public Health and Emergency Measures Organization leaders to receive any pertinent updates on the situation and our preparedness plans. Recognizing that this disease knows no borders, I have also written to Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, the chair of the Council of the Federation which represents all premiers across the country. The goal is to ensure that good information is shared nationally about how our response plans will work, and what Canadians need to do to be ready.

I know that information has and will continue to come from a number of sources. It is important that people only count on the information from trusted sources to direct what they should do. In that regard, as the situation continues to evolve, information will be continuously provided and updated at, on the Government of New Brunswick social media channels, through traditional media and other methods as required.

We all need to heed the advice of our professionals who are working diligently to ensure we are prepared and any impact is minimal. I thank them for their efforts and I have let them know that I will provide whatever support is required.