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Monday, Sep 28, 2020

Canada won't declare national emergency over coronavirus

Canada won't declare national emergency over coronavirus

While the US declared a public health emergency Friday in response to the coronavirus, which has sickened nearly 10,000 people worldwide, Canada Health Minister Patty Hajdu however said Canada is not ready to declare a national emergency over the coronavirus outbreak.
Hajdu told CBC Friday that the current evidence doesn't justify such a declaration -or restrictions on the movement of foreign nationals into the country like the ones the United States imposed.

"We're comfortable that we're completely up to date in terms of our approach and what the science says. There is a very low risk to Canadians," said Hajdu. "Obviously, it is low because travel to and from the affected region is becoming more difficult. And of course, we have a very sophisticated system here in Canada."

Health Canada maintains there is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted by people who are asymptomatic -who have no symptoms -despite a German report suggesting otherwise, according to her.

Hajdu said she "can't speculate" about why the US chose this route when being asked why Canada is taking a different approach.

"We've been following closely the recommendations of the World Health Organization," Hajdu added.

Despite the low risk of transmission in this country, news of the virus has led to the re-emergence of racism and xenophobia that target Asian people in Canada.

Members of Toronto's Chinese community are urging the public to refrain from spreading fear and stigmatizing the community in the wake of coronavirus.

Echoing the calling from Chinese community, Toronto Mayor John Tory, along with members of Toronto Public Health and other council members, urged the community to make sure that during a heightened time of anxiety over the virus, people shouldn't let "fake news triumph over the facts."

"We can't let fear or ignorance triumph over our values of community, understanding, respect and rejection of discrimination," Tory said at City Hall Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau further urged Canadians to stay united and warned against the rise of discrimination as fears of the coronavirus spread.

"There is no place in our country for discrimination driven by fear or misinformation," Trudeau said at a Lunar New Year celebration at a banquet hall in Toronto on Saturday. "This is not something Canadians will ever stand for."

Canada's first coronavirus patient has been discharged from a Toronto hospital Friday morning.

The man, who was in his 50s, was the first person confirmed to have caught the virus in Canada after he returned from travelling in Wuhan on Jan 23. He was being treated at Toronto Sunnybrook Hospital.

The hospital said that the man's condition had improved throughout the week, and "he no longer required in-patient care." Instead, the hospital has liaised with Toronto Public Health and both will continue to monitor the patient at home.

The man's wife also tested positive for the virus, known as 2019-nCoV, but has been recovering at home in self-isolation.

The country's fourth patient was confirmed by Ontario health official just hours after the first patient was discharged, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to four -three in Ontario and one in B.C.

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