Langford Mayor Stew Young avoided shaking hands with Maryam Monsef, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality at a federal announcment in Langford Monday. He’s taking it as a preventative meausre against the spread of Coronavirus. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)

B.C. mayor avoids shaking hands with federal minister amid COVID-19 fears

It’s reasonable to think about not shaking hands, says B.C.’s provincial health officer

Langford Mayor Stew Young took extra precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus during a recent encounter with a federal minister Monday.

Young and city staff avoided shaking hands with Maryam Monsef, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality, during a rental housing announcement in Langford.

“If we don’t shake hands, it’s not meant to say that I don’t like you,” Young said. “As politicians we shake a lot of hands. The idea that it’s rude has gotta stop. It’s okay and it’s not an insult. You don’t have to touch everyone you greet.”

Young said that the City has given recommendations to their staff on how to deal first-hand with the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

A new page on their city website outlines key reminders from the World Health Organization (WHO), which includes washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face and staying at least a metre away from someone who is coughing or sneezing.

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Black Press Media reached out to the West Shore municipalities to see how they are dealing with COVID-19 with city staff. Colwood, View Royal, Metchosin and Highlands say they are following WHO suggestions, but aren’t taking any extra precautions.

“I think the risk right now of spreading the coronavirus in our communities right now is low … but it’s reasonable for us to think about [not shaking hands],” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer. “Let’s keep our germs to ourselves right now.”

The ninth case of coronavirus was confirmed in B.C., as announced by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) on Tuesday. The patient is a man in his 50s who recently returned to Canada from Iran.

Currently, he’s in isolation at home with support from public health teams. His case is unrelated to previous cases.

aaron.guillen@goldstreamgazette.com


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