Air Canada has announced it will suspend all flights to China starting Thursday, January 30, through Saturday, February 29, due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (2019-nCoV). To date, three cases of the virus have been confirmed in Canada.
The Canadian Border Services Agency stated on Wednesday, January 22, that it has implemented screening measures for travelers entering Canada. The measures only entail additional questioning for incoming travelers to verify whether they have visited Wuhan or other cities affected by the outbreak. The affected airports are Toronto (YYZ), Montreal (YUL), and Vancouver (YVR) international airports.
Further spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of 2019-nCoV was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan. Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
As of January 30, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Australia, Canada, Cambodia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Macau, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, the US, and Vietnam. Human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in Germany, Vietnam, and Japan. Virus screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:
- Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold
- Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)
- Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask
- Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly
- Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments
- Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.
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