Coronavirus containment window shrinking as virus spreads to more countries

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam says the window of opportunity to contain the novel coronavirus is closing as the virus begins to spread in more and more countries.

Canada has so far been able to detect and isolate cases of coronavirus as patients arrive in Canada thanks, in part, to border screening measures, but Tam warned that as more countries see cases those measures will become less and less effective.

The World Health Organization says it’s still too early to declare a pandemic of the virus known as COVID-19, but the spread of the bug in multiple countries is a major concern.

Tam says her goal is to delay the spread of the virus from person to person within Canada until at least after the influenza season is through.

The government has also updated its advice to travellers returning from abroad and has asked them to monitor themselves for symptoms of COVID-19 for two weeks after they return, no matter where they travelled.

This comes as another case of the virus was confirmed by health officials in Toronto, who say a woman in her 20s contracted it while travelling in China.

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