Canada prepares for the new coronavirus

Canada prepares for the new coronavirus

"Absolutely not", Dr. Peter Donnelly, with Public Health Ontario, said.

When the coronavirus comes to Canada, Donnelly said "it will still work as normal", and there will be no massive quarantine of people like the authorities in Wuhan and at least 12 other Chinese cities with more than 36 million people.

Top public health officials in Ontario say they will make an announcement later this evening. Good sites for solid information include the websites of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Health Ontario, and Toronto Public Health, she said.

At least 26 people have died in China and the city at the centre of the outbreak, Wuhan, is under quarantine as health officials scramble to understand the mysterious disease and keep it from spreading, Postmedia Network reports.

However, Donnelly added that health officials are much better prepared now than they were in 2003 when SARS killed 44 Canadians. He noted that communication is more robust, hospitals have better isolation facilities and a reliable test is available to detect the corona virus within 24 hours. It causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath. "In situations like this, speed and certainty are both very important".

While the World Health Organization has decided for now against declaring the coronavirus outbreak a global emergency, Donnelly said public health authorities were still doing everything they can to ensure any cases here are dealt with effectively.

Canada's chief public health officer said earlier this week the risk to Canadians of contracting the virus remains low, but airports in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal - all of which have direct flights from China - would begin screening passengers as one measure of defence.

"We are not complacent, we are working extremely hard on this, but we are quietly confident that we can handle this", said Donnelly.

The City of Toronto says medical officer of health Dr. Eileen de Villa will hold a media availability to provide information on the coronavirus and how the city is preparing for its possible spread on Friday morning.

Stewart said the coronavirus is a respiratory virus that has symptoms ranging from a mild cold to pneumonia, which can be fatal.

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