Canadian hospitals and airports are putting in place enhanced infection-control measures as they prepare for the possible arrival of Corona virus that China confirmed earlier, can be transmitted between humans.
Chinese health officials say the novel corona virus, also known as 2019-nCoV, has sickened 291 people and killed six people. Infection control experts say they expect to see some cases of the virus in Canada, because of the number of travelers between the two countries.
Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, said she has “no doubt” there will be cases in Canada. But unlike 2003, when SARS arrived in Toronto and officials had no idea what they were dealing with, the situation is much different this time, Dr. Henry said. For instance, officials have already developed a test for the new virus, are aware of the symptoms and have some idea of how the illness progresses. And the 2019-nCoV virus doesn’t appear to be as deadly as SARS was, Dr. Henry said.
“Infection control experts say they expect some cases of corona virus in Canada, because of the number of travelers between the two countries”
During the SARS outbreak, more than 8,000 people were infected and hundreds died as a result of the illness, according to the World Health Organization.
The World Health Organization is holding an emergency meeting on Wednesday to determine whether the growing outbreak constitutes a public health emergency and what needs to be done to manage the risk.
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada Theresa Tam said Monday the government is increasing signage at airports in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal that ask travelers from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, to tell border services agents if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms. The government will also add a new health screening question to electronic kiosks in the coming weeks.
There have been no confirmed cases of the new corona virus in Canada. Health officials in Ontario investigated three possible cases in people who recently travelled to Wuhan, but ruled out the illness.