Public health officials to provide update on coronavirus cases in Ontario

Public health officials in Ontario are set to provide an update on coronavirus in the province on Thursday, one day after a second case was confirmed in Toronto.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer, will speak with reporters at Queen’s Park at 10:30 a.m. ET. Public Health Ontario announced yesterday that it would hold twice-weekly media updates as officials around the world work to contain the virus.

Canada currently has three confirmed cases — two in Toronto and a third in B.C. Twenty-three other people in Ontario are being investigated for possible infection.

Chinese health commission officials said the virus has killed 170 people and infected more than 7,700 in that country, with an additional 12,000 suspected cases being looked at. The majority have been in Hubei province, where the city of Wuhan is located.

Dozens of cases have also been reported in 16 other countries around the world, almost all of them travel-related, according the World Health Organization.

Foreign governments have begun flying their citizens out of Wuhan, which remains under quarantine. Global Affairs Canada says there are 120 Canadians currently seeking consular help in the city.

Meanwhile, Air Canada has suspended all flights to Beijing and Shanghai as demand for air travel to China plummets. American Airlines and British Airways have taken similar steps.

The two confirmed cases in Ontario are a husband and wife who recently travelled to Wuhan. The couple, both in their 50s, returned to Toronto on a China Southern Airlines flight on Jan 22. The man is being treated at Sunnybrook Hospital, while the woman is at home in self-isolation, Williams has previously said.

Toronto Public Health says it has made contact with most of the people who flew in close proximity to the couple. A hotline has also been set up for anyone on the same flight who has questions or concerns about their condition.

Williams and other health officials have consistently said that the risk of infection here in Canada remains low, despite widespread circulation of misinformation about the virus.


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