Passengers travelling to Toronto Pearson International Airport will soon be asked about their potential exposure to coronavirus, amidst an outbreak of pneumonia in China caused by the virus.
The CBC reported that Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said that travellers to Pearson will be asked a screening question at electronic immigration kiosks if they have travelled to areas affected by the coronavirus in the last 14 days; they will also be reminded to report any flu-like symptoms to border services agents.
In addition, the airport will display messaging about coronavirus on arrival screens. Signs about the virus will also be posted at Vancouver International Airport and Montreal-Trudeau International Airport.
The official Chinese Xinhua News Agency reported that as of yesterday (Jan. 20), 224 cases of pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus infection have been reported in China. Of that number, 217 have been confirmed. China has reported four deaths.
China has also confirmed that human-to-human transmission has taken place in the outbreak, which began at a seafood market in the city of Wuhan in central China. Cases have since been reported in Japan, Thailand and South Korea.
According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, the overall risk of disease spread to Canada is considered low; Canada has no direct flights from Wuhan, and the number of travellers arriving indirectly from Wuhan is low.
The virus is related to the one that caused a global outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2002-03, which killed more than 800 people, including 44 deaths in Canada.
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