The second case of the Wuhan Coronavirus has been confirmed in Toronto.
According to reports, the individual recently travelled to Wuhan, the epicentre of the virus, and was in close contact with Toronto’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus.
“While we only learned the news of our first presumptive confirmed cases late during the weekend, staff have been working around the clock to immediately act on this information and reach out to close contacts,” said Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health in a statement issued Tuesday.
“We have been doing this to inform these people that they may have been exposed to a potential health risk, and so that they know what signs and symptoms they should look out for, and when and what type of medical treatment they need to seek if that becomes necessary.”
This comes after health officials in British Columbia have also announced the province’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus.
Toronto Public Health says the risk to the city still remains low and it will continue to actively monitor the situation in collaboration with provincial and national health agencies and stakeholders that include local hospitals, airports, and community agencies.
The city is also reminding the public that it’s also cold and flu season and, as such, everyone should remember the importance of good infection prevention and control practices to help protect against getting sick and prevent the spread of illness. These practices include:
- Getting an annual flu vaccine
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Covering your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough
- Sneezing or coughing into your sleeve or arm if you don’t have a tissue
- Staying home if you are sick
Air Canada says it is now suspending select flights to China amid the outbreak and is offering travellers additional travel options.
“In response to the coronavirus situation, we are cancelling select flights to China to better match capacity with expected demand,” the airline said in a statement to Toronto Storeys.
“Air Canada currently operates 33 flights a week to China and the resulting capacity reduction is relatively small.”
“Those customers who are affected will be notified and provided with alternate travel options. We continue to monitor the situation closely and will adjust accordingly.”
Moreover, Toronto’s Pearson International Airport is taking precautions to ensure the safety of Canadians by asking travellers a screening question at electronic immigration kiosks if they have travelled to areas affected by the coronavirus in the last 14 days and they will be reminded to report flu-like symptoms to border services agents.
Additionally, there will also be messaging on arrival screens about the coronavirus.
Currently, 250 Canadians have registered with Global Affairs Canada to say they are currently in Wuhan and 126 of them have asked for help to get home.
Coronaviruses are part of a large family of viruses that cause respiratory illnesses, with a wide range of severity. They include the common cold, but also more severe illnesses like SARS.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the novel (new) coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, with most cases linking to the Huanan Seafood Market (also known as Wuhan South China Seafood City and South China Seafood Wholesale Market).
At this time, there are over 100 deaths linked to the virus.
During your trip
- Avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals may be slaughtered
- Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), including pigs, chickens, ducks, and wild birds
- Avoid surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them
- Avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing
Travellers are reminded to follow the usual health precautions:
Wash your hands often
- Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds
- Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available. It’s a good idea to always keep some with you when you travel
Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette
- Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.
- If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.
Monitor your health
If you become sick when you are travelling or after you return, avoid contact with others except to see a health care professional. Tell them:
- Your symptoms.
- Where you have been travelling or living.
- If you have had direct contact with animals (for example: visited a live animal market) or close contact with a sick person.
If you feel sick during your flight to Canada or upon arrival, inform the flight attendant or a Canadian border services officer.