Coronavirus patient showed mild symptoms on flight


The province of Ontario health officials on Saturday said a man in his 50s developed a respiratory illness after arriving in Toronto on January 22 from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak of the viral disease, and was being treated in a public hospital and in isolation.

The individual arrived via China Southern Airlines flight CZ311 from Guangzhou to Toronto.

Pearson is one of three Canadian airports, along with the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport and Vancouver International Airport, where enhanced public health measures have been implemented as the outbreak has worsened.

Canada has implemented enhanced screening for those travelling from the Wuhan region at the Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver global airports, and is offering information on what to do for those experiencing possible symptoms after their return. The man alerted first responders that he had recently returned from Wuhan.

Dr. Jerome Leis of Sunnybrook said the presence of an infected patient at the facility has not prompted any changes in day-to-day operations, stressing the risk of general infection is low and the hospital remains safe for patients.

"For me that is a sign that the information provided at the border did, in fact, percolate through to the patient and his family", she said.

The Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ont., is caring for a patient who is confirmed to have a case of the novel coronavirus.

Despite her concession that future Canadian cases are expected, Tam said the risk of human-to-human contamination is minimal, even for those who may have shared a flight or been in the airport alongside the Toronto patient.

"The Government of Canada has been working closely with provincial and territorial counterparts, and global partners, since China first reported 2019-nCoV cases to ensure that our country is prepared to limit the spread of 2019-nCoV in Canada", she said.

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Hajdu emphasizes that Canadians shouldn't be overly concerned about risks from the virus.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the Ministry of Health has recommended that until we know more about this virus, we use the more advanced and protective gear".

Everyone is also being urged to practice good hygiene that helps prevent the transmission of all viruses - washing hands thoroughly, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you're sick.

Globally, the death toll from the coronavirus has reached 56.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said that sequence of events shows current systems are working as intended.

"There is no need for Canadians to be alarmed", she told the press conference.

Aside from China and Canada, cases have been reported in the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Canada has issued a travel advisory for Hubei, the province that includes Wuhan, warning citizens to avoid non-essential travel to the area.

China first alerted the World Health Organization of the virus, known as 2019-nCoV, on December 31.