VICTORIA -- British Columbia's provincial health officer says plans are in the works to expand the province's battle against the novel coronavirus, which has been diagnosed in seven people.

Dr. Bonnie Henry says the World Health Organization has not listed the outbreak as a pandemic, but the situation is changing, with confirmed cases in 39 countries.

She says among the seven people in B.C. with COVID-19, five are doing well and have either recovered or are near recovery.

The other two people with COVID-19 are listed as stable in isolation at their home.

Henry says the seventh case is a man in his 40s who is a close contact of the sixth case, a woman in her 30s whose diagnosis was confirmed last week after returning from Iran.

She says in the coming days, B.C. will ramp up its public awareness campaign reminding people about measures to fight the novel coronavirus, including staying home from work or school and not attending mass gatherings if they are sick.

Henry says the elderly would be most at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus if it starts to spread.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Feb. 25, 2020.