WINNIPEG -- The province is ramping up its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Manitoba, by opening two more access clinics for screening in Winnipeg and encouraging the cancellation of all events with more than 250 people attending.

On Friday, provincial health officials announced the first of three COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, has been laboratory confirmed.

"I want to stress that this was not unexpected, the system had been preparing for many weeks to identify and isolate and follow up on these first initial cases," said Dr. Brent Roussin, chief provincial public health officer.

Roussin said Public Health is discouraging any non-essential international travel, including to the United States. He said if people chose to travel outside of Canada, they should expect to go into a 14-day self-isolation when they return as a precaution.

Roussin also cautioned against travel within Canada.

"I think I would still raise caution with people. This is a rapidly emerging situation, and I would direct people to ask, 'is this a time that you really want to be travelling if it is not essential.'"


The province also recommended that events with more than 250 people attending them should be cancelled.

"This measure reduces crowded conditions that can help enhance close, prolonged contact," Roussin said.

"We know this is a significant change, but we all have a role to limit the impact of this virus on ourselves and our communities. We are certainly not helpless against this virus; we all have a role to play."

Roussin said, while the world is learning more about the virus each day, right now, it has spread almost exclusively through close contact with infected individuals who are showing symptoms.

"We know that in situations like this it is a natural human emotion to show fear, we understand that but right now this is the time we need to prepare, we need to educate ourselves with credible information, and we need to make some changes."

More information about the coronavirus can be found on the Province of Manitoba website.