Imported cases of COVID-19 reported in select areas of British Columbia and Ontario, Canada, Feb. 2020. Risk to wider public is low.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Toronto, Ont.
  • Vancouver, B.C.
  • London, Ont.

This alert began 13 Feb 2020 20:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Vancouver, B.C.; London and Toronto, Ont. (map)
  • Period: January-February 2020
  • Cases: 7

Summary
Canadian authorities reported two additional cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Feb. 10, bringing the total to seven cases since Jan. 27. Cases were identified in Vancouver, B.C. (4 cases), London, Ont. (1), and Toronto, Ont. (2). These cases were identified in travelers returning from China, where an outbreak is ongoing. All infected individuals were hospitalized in isolation and close contacts are monitored for symptoms. Risk to the wider public remains low. This report represents the most complete data available as of Feb. 13.

Background and Analysis
Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base

Return to SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 Intelligence Hub >>