Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne speaks to reporters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Canada ready to offer more help to China amid coronavirus outbreak, Trudeau says

Most cases of the new coronavirus are mild, but the respiratory illness can be deadly in some people

Canada is standing by in case China asks for more help as it grapples with the novel coronavirus outbreak that originated there, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sunday, noting that the virus continues to pose little threat in this country.

Trudeau said Canada has already responded to China’s request for medical equipment, including face masks and other protective gear, as the infection rate and death toll from the virus continues to climb.

“We are going to continue to work with them to ensure that they have the resources to contain this virus,” he told a news conference near the end of his three-day visit to Ethiopia.

“We recognize it is a difficult and uncertain time for them and for everyone around the world but as an international community we do have to continue to work together and we’re there to help.”

Most cases of the new coronavirus are mild, but the respiratory illness can be deadly in some people. More than 37,000 have been sickened worldwide and more than 800 have died, with the death toll now higher than that of the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.

Two deaths thus far occurred in patients outside of China, one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Seven cases of novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Canada. An update from the Public Health Agency of Canada says four cases are in British Columbia and three are in Ontario.

“The measures we have taken on as recommended by the World Health Organization and our own chief medical officer are effective until now,” Trudeau said. “We continue to monitor the situation internationally, work with our partners, particularly the WHO, to make sure that everything we’re doing is consistent with what needs to happen to keep Canadians safe.”

The virus originated in Wuhan, China’s fifth biggest city, and more than 70 per cent of the confirmed cases worldwide were diagnosed in patients in that country.

China took extraordinary measures to try to keep the virus from spreading, including quarantining entire cities such as Wuhan.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, who is with Trudeau in Africa, said a second plane left Trenton, Ont., very early Sunday morning to bring home more Canadians who have asked to return from China.

The flight is headed first to Hong Kong where it will have to wait before going into Wuhan. Chinese authorities are giving foreign nations small time openings in which to land and fly out with their citizens.

“The plane would be leaving (China) on the 10th of February, bringing back the last group of Canadians who want to be repatriated on the 11th,” Champagne said.

There are 236 Canadians waiting to board the plane from a city that has been under quarantine for weeks as Chinese authorities try to contain the virus’s spread, Canadian officials said Sunday.

A first planeload of Canadians arrived at an Ontario military base last Friday, carrying 176 people, including two members of the rapid deployment team, said Champagne. A second group that travelled to Canada on a U.S. flight brought the total of repatriated Canadians to 213, he said.

Those evacuees are being kept at CFB Trenton for 14 days to make sure they don’t get sick and start spreading the germs across the country.

However, eight Canadian Forces medical staff who accompanied the evacuees from China were released from quarantine Sunday.

READ MORE: Princess Cruises confirms new Canadian coronavirus case aboard Diamond Princess

Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said in a statement that she’s assessed each member of the medical staff and concluded they are not at risk of exposure to the virus.

They did not spend time in Wuhan, followed appropriate infection prevention and control protocols — including the use of personal protective equipment — and did not have unprotected contact with the passengers who were flown to Canada, Tam said.

Of the 213 evacuees still in quarantine at CFB Trenton, Tam said none have exhibited any symptoms of the virus.

Under the Quarantine Act, Tam has the discretion to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether to shorten the quarantine period based on an assessment of the risk of harm to public health.

The federal government is also monitoring the well-being of 285 Canadians quarantined on two cruise ships off the coast of Japan and Hong Kong.

There are seven Canadians with confirmed cases of the coronavirus contracted aboard one of the ships, which is docked in the port city of Yokohama, just outside Tokyo. Those patients have been taken to Japanese hospitals for treatment and monitoring.

Champagne said he’d spoken to the head of the cruise line earlier in the day.

“I wanted to make sure that we’re all linked up,” he said. “I wanted to make sure we’re all there for the families, for the people who are there.”

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Sylvan Lake RCMP on scene at serious, multi vehicle collision

There is no access westbound on Aspelund Road from the intersection.

Sylvan Lakers take a frozen dip for a cause

The annual Polar Bear Dip held during Winterfest is a fundraiser for organizations around town

Sylvan Lake Wranglers advance to face rival Red Deer

The Sylvan Lake Wranglers defeated the Rocky Rams in first round playoff action three games to one

PHOTOS: Ice racing speeds through Sylvan Lake

The Alberta Oval Ice Racing Championship Series hosted its Nationals event on Sylvan Lake on Feb. 16

Cases of clubroot cropping up in Central Alberta canola fields

Canola Council of Canada says more than 300 fields in Central Alberta have clubroot spores

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, calls for end to blockades

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

Portrait of the Coastal GasLink, a pipeline to divide a nation

In mid-February, 46 per cent of the pipeline route had been cleared

Alberta ends master agreement with doctors, new rules to be in place April 1

The current master agreement with physicians ends March 31

Alberta rail conductor fired for social media posts awarded money, but not reinstatement

Arbitrator Richard Hornung says that he agreed with the Teamsters union

Kids exposed to household cleaners as newborns more likely to get asthma: study

Air fresheners, plug-in deodorizers, antimicrobial hand sanitizers and oven cleaners were the worst culprits

Burger King breaks the mould with new advertising campaign

The company is known for irreverent ad campaigns

PHOTOS: RCMP call on kids to name latest police puppy recruits

This year’s theme is the letter ‘N,’ and 13 German shephards must be named

Most Read