Things to Know after First Presumptive Case of Wuhan Novel Coronavirus Detected in Canada

Yesterday, Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, confirmed Ontario’s first presumptive case of Wuhan novel coronavirus in Toronto.

According to the press release, a patient who was admitted to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on Thursday, January 23, 2020 with fever and respiratory symptoms, has a confirmed case of the novel coronavirus.

Public Health Ontario Laboratory, on Saturday, January 25, 2020,confirmed the case as a presumptive positive case. It will be declared a positive case, once National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, confirms the test result.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has assessed the public health risk associated with 2019-nCoV in Wuhan, China as low for Canada and for Canadian travelers.

Honourable Patty Hajdu has reaffirmed that, “Measures to mitigate the risk of introduction and spread of diseases like the new coronavirus in Canada are in place, including messaging on arrival screens at the Toronto, Montréal and Vancouver international airports reminding travellers to inform a Border Services Officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms, and an additional health screening question on electronic kiosks used by international travellers.”

According to Public Health Officials, symptoms range from common to severe respiratory illnesses and include: fever, cough, difficulty breathing, pneumonia, kidney failure and death in severe cases.

Update: During the press conference held by Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu and Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Pauline Tam on January 26 | 10:30 PM, Patty Hajdu confirmed that the patient was symptomatic in the flight and the co-travellers in the flight who sat within 2 m radius are being contacted by health officials.


According to World Health Organisation, a total of 1,320 confirmed cases have been reported for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) globally by January 25, 2020 (before Canada’s case was reported):
— Of the 1,320 cases reported, 1,297 cases were reported from China, including Hong Kong SAR (5 confirmed cases), Macau SAR (2 confirmed cases) and Taipei (3 confirmed cases).
— A total of 1,965 suspected cases have been reported from 20 Chinese provinces, regions and cities (excluding Hong Kong SAR, Macau SAR and Taipei).
— Twenty-three confirmed cases have been reported outside of China in nine countries.

WHO says, “During previous outbreaks due to other coronavirus (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)), human to human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of the 2019-nCoV can be similar.”


Ontario provincial health officials, reiterated that, to reduce exposure to and transmission of a range of illnesses, including coronaviruses, you should follow usual health precautions such as:

  • washing your hands often
  • avoiding contact with people who are sick
  • practising proper cough and sneeze etiquette


Ontario Governmen has launched a dedicated webpage that will have the most up-to-date information on the number of cases under investigation and those that have been confirmed.

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