Health officials from Ontario have confirmed four new cases of the novel coronavirus infection on Sunday, bringing the total infection tally in Canada to 24. All four patients — involving three men and one woman — had recently traveled overseas, which could indicate that the virus did not spread locally.
“However, given the global circumstances, Ontario is actively working with city and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread,” said Canada’s Ministry of Health in a statement. According to an Epoch Times report, there are 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ontario as of writing, and the first three confirmed patients have been cleared of the virus. Among the new cases of COVID-19, three of the patients had recently been to Iran and are currently in self-isolation at home.
According to Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s medical officer of health, one of the patients — a man in his 40s — recently returned from Iran with his wife and child. His wife was later diagnosed with COVID-19 on Saturday.
“This is related to travel to Iran,” Kurji said. In his case, while he accompanied his wife and toddler, he didn’t develop any symptoms at all until after arrival in Canada and while he was in isolation.
Another case is a Toronto resident in his 50s who, according to Kurji, is the brother of one of Toronto’s latest reported cases of coronavirus who also traveled to Iran. The man was assessed and tested at Mackenzie Health Hospital before going into self-isolation. The third case involves a York Region woman in her 70s, who was in Egypt with a person recently diagnosed with the virus in Toronto. Lastly, the final patient was a man in his 60s who just returned from Iran on Sunday, February 23. He presented himself directly to the North York General Hospital’s emergency department a few days after his arrival. Based on protocols given by the health ministry, the man was also put into self-isolation, where he maintains minimal contact from others.
Health officials claim that all of the cases of COVID-19 in Canada are people who had recently traveled (or those who had contact with people who traveled) abroad.
In light of the recent cases of coronavirus infections, the Canadian government told its travelers from Iran yesterday to start isolating themselves at home for at least 14 days as a safety precaution against the novel coronavirus. This same instruction was also given to people arriving from Hubei, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition, it has advised its citizens to avoid any non-essential travel to Iran. (Related: Coronavirus on track to reach EVERY COUNTRY in the world — South Korea, Italy and Iran see sharp increase in cases.)
“The rapid increase in cases in Iran and the number of recent Canadian cases linked to travelers coming from Iran is very concerning,” said Chief Medical Officer Theresa Tam.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) reported that travelers are required to tell airport officials whether they’re coming from Iran. Those coming from the aforementioned country will be asked to report any and all symptoms that might be linked to the novel coronavirus, or to follow the isolation protocol if they show no symptoms. Tam claims these new screening measures are based on a risk assessment that considers the rapidly increasing number of cases from Iran, although she could not immediately say how many cases can be traced to the country. However, Tam said there is currently no plan to impose any strict travel restrictions or bans in the near future.
“Viruses know no borders and we have to balance our public health measures knowing that they are never completely perfect,” she said. “There are downsides as well as effectiveness. I’ve always also said that as the number of countries increases, border measures are less effective and less feasible. So trying to focus on one country versus another can be much less reasonable as an approach, or effective.”
As reported by Natural News, there are an estimated more than 350,000 cases of COVID-19 virus infections worldwide, with about 35,000 dead from the disease. Learn more about the ongoing outbreak at Pandemic.news.