How airports are preparing for the potential spread of coronavirus in Canada
CALGARY -- Health care workers and border security officials maintain they are well prepared to treat the potential spread of the coronavirus if it makes its way to Canada.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus is now more than 630, including 17 deaths. The Chinese government says 13 men and four women between the ages of 48 to 89-years-old have died from the illness.
Seven of the victims had no pre-existing health conditions before contracting the virus and officials add the time period between showing symptoms and death was between 10 days and three weeks.
China remains the epicentre of the virus with more than 500 cases and many of the deaths have occurred in or around the city of Wuhan, China, where 11 million people have been quarantined. The government has also suspended all plane, train, bus and ferry travel in and out of the area.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) maintains Canada is at a low risk for the virus.
The Calgary Airport Authority is also showing few signs of concern at the moment but said, in a statement to CTV News Thursday, they always keep patient safety in mind.
“We take the health and safety of our guests very seriously at YYC Calgary International Airport so we are taking direction from PHAC and are cooperating with Alberta Health Services to closely monitor the situation,” the statement read.
“Currently, our normal screening procedures are in place for arriving international guests as we do not have any direct flights from China.”
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has also implemented additional screening for international travellers arriving at Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal airports.
Guests will be asked an additional health screening question to help identify travellers who may have visited Wuhan, China at any point over the past two weeks.
Travellers who have been to Wuhan will be subject to additional medical screening to help prevent the spread of the infectious disease.
Additional signage has also been out up in CBSA halls to raise traveller awareness. The agency says while there are no direct flights from Canada to Wuhan, there is still a likelihood that travellers have connected on flights from that city.
The WHO announced Thursday that it's "too early" to declare the outbreak to be a global health emergency because of the limited number of confirmed cases.
It also said the Chinese government has been working hard to contain the spread of the virus.