WHO declaration on new coronavirus changes little for Canada: health minister

James Marshall
February 1, 2020

Morgan said the department is working with Canada's public health authorities to help them co-ordinate with Chinese experts, as well.

With Wuhan locked down as part of a government effort to contain the epidemic, the Canadian flight required authorization to land in the region.

He said the only planes that already landed were from US and Japan.

However Nadine Girault, Quebec's minister for global relations, was more nuanced in her comments, saying the scenario being examined right now only looked at the recall of five government employees, some of whom work in the Canadian embassy in China.

And she said Canada and the world are much better prepared to deal with a potential pandemic than they were during the outbreak of SARS, another coronavirus that killed more than 700 people worldwide from 2002-04.

"It is understandable that our fears increase during times of uncertainty, but when this fear leads some people to spread stigmatizing stereotypes and misinformation, it only does harm", she said.

Ottawa chartered a plane to bring back 196 Canadians who asked to be repatriated, but the airlift had remained in limbo this week even as the United States, Japan, South Korea and European nations brought home their nationals.

The threat from air travel is actually dropping.

A Japanese flight carrying 206 evacuees home included four people with coughs and fevers.

Canada highly appreciates China's strong measures as well as its open and transparent manner to prevent and control the outbreak, and has full confidence in China's capability in dealing with the epidemic, he said.

About 250 Canadians in Hubei have registered with Global Affairs Canada, officials said.

Travel Alberta, which works to promote tourism to the province, says it's hearing about cancellations of Chinese tourists to Canadian hotspots including Banff and Yellowknife.

"Most cases and the spread of the novel coronavirus are occurring in affected areas in China with only three cases detected in Canada", Tam said.

The government has launched a website dedicated to the coronavirus and set up an information hotline.

Canada has also upgraded its travel advisory for China, urging Canadians to avoid all non-essential travel there.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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