Saturday, March 28, 2020

Feds increasing measures to monitor coronavirus risks

The Federal Government is increasing measures to monitor Wuhan novel coronavirus risks at Canadian airports, including at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and co-chair of the federal-provincial-territorial health table, issued a statement on Friday on Ontario’s preparedness for the Wuhan novel coronavirus following a joint call with her federal and provincial counterparts.

“While there remain no confirmed cases of the virus in Canada, the federal government is putting in place enhanced screening and detection measures at Toronto Pearson International Airport to further protect the health of the public from the Wuhan novel coronavirus,” Elliott stated in a press release.

“(On Friday), I joined Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health for Canada, and my ministerial colleagues from each of the provinces and territories to share important information and further coordinate our joint efforts to protect the health and well being of all Canadians, including Ontarians, from the emerging issues of the Wuhan novel coronavirus.”

Elliott said the federal government outlined their enhanced measures, which now include:

– Screening questions at border kiosks will now include questions about previous travel to Wuhan, China in the past 14 days. A positive response would trigger an enhanced screening process, including sending the traveller to a Canadian border agent for further questioning about their health status. The border agent will determine whether the traveller needs to seek immediate medical assessment and treatment and, if so, EMS will transport the traveller from the airport directly to hospital. This screening will be done in Vancouver and Montreal as well.

– Fact sheets are also being developed in English, French and Chinese for people who have travelled to China and are not currently exhibiting signs of illness. These fact sheets will outline the symptoms that individuals should watch for and any next steps should they experience symptoms, including seeking an immediate medical assessment.

“The federal government’s enhanced screening measures build on Ontario’s robust and comprehensive protocols in place to actively monitor for, detect and contain any suspected cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus,” Elliott stated.

“The federal government’s measures will further support my ministry, in collaboration with Public Health Ontario, local health units, hospitals and health care providers, to monitor the Wuhan novel coronavirus and contain any cases, should one present in Ontario.”

While the risk to Ontarians remains low, Elliott said the provincial government will continue to be in close contact with the Public Health Agency of Canada and other jurisdictions to monitor this developing situation and safeguard the health of all Ontarians.

“I’d like to thank all our partners for their on-going efforts in responding to this emerging situation,” she said.

“I want to reiterate our top priority will always remain safeguarding the health of the public, patients and care providers.”

For more information, check out our previous coverage: Province actively monitoring the coronavirus 

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