Canada confirms country's first novel coronavirus case in Toronto

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      Update: Ontario confirmed on January 27 that Canada's second novel coronavirus case is in Toronto. The patient is the wife of the first case. For more information, see this article.

      Original article (January 25):

      Upon the advent of the Lunar New Year today (January 25), Ontario’s chief medical officer confirmed that Canada’s first “presumptive positive” case of the novel coronavirus has been found in Toronto.

      A male traveller in his 50s became ill after traveling to Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the outbreak, and returning to Toronto (via Guangzhou) on January 22.

      The patient has been put into an isolation room and remains in stable condition at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

      Toronto Public Health is investigating every place he visited and anyone who came into contact with him.

      The day before (January 24), the Ontario Ministry of Health issued a news release to state that the province was implementing additional screening measures, which includes questions about travel to Wuhan, China, and fact sheets distributed in English, French, and Chinese.

      Canada continues to rely upon self-reporting, while other countries are also using thermal scanning to detect illness.

      As of this writing, there are 1,438 reported cases internationally, with 1,399 in mainland China. A total of 42 people have died while 39 people have recovered.

      Canada joins a list of places outside mainland China that have confirmed cases, including Thailand (7), Hong Kong (5), Australia (4), France (3), Singapore (3), Malaysia (3), Taiwan (3), Macau (2), Vietnam (2), Japan (2), South Korea (2), the U.S. (2), and Nepal (1).

      Information about the coronavirus is available at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website, which states that the risk of British Columbians is "considered low".

      Meanwhile, Hong Kong is declaring a state of emergency in response to the virus. Flights and rail trips between Wuhan and Hong Kong are suspended and schools, on Lunar New Year holidays, will remain closed until February 17. Health declarations at all ports of entry to Hong Kong are being implemented while several public events have been cancelled. 

      International travellers who become ill with respiratory symptoms, such as a cough and fever, are advised to report their travel history to any health professional or emergency rooms when they visit.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook