Chances of Canadian virus outbreak low, says official, as China widens lockdown

The chief medical officer says Canada’s chances of getting a coronavirus outbreak is low as China locks down more cities in an effort to contain its spread.

Dr. Theresa Tam says as of Thursday there are no confirmed cases here.

Her comments come as China’s National Health Commission confirmed it is dealing with 830 cases of the new virus and 26 deaths.

China’s lockdown affects at least 10 cities in central Hubei province, encompassing about 33 million people.

Montreal-based acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil has also cancelled all performances in Hangzhou, China as a precaution.

It says it made the decision to cancel performances of “The Land of Fantasy” show after Chinese officials requested the temporary closing of all indoor activities with 100 or more people to stem the outbreak.

Some countries such as the Philippines have installed thermal scanners at airports to detect potential carriers of the disease when they arrive from China as those infected have displayed flu-like symptoms such as fevers.

Tam says Canada has no plans to follow suit.

“In our experience during SARS, we scanned millions of people and didn’t pick up a single case,” she said.

“What we know is if you get infected, there could be many days between being infected and being symptomatic or having a fever.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 24, 2020

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