Canada’s chief medical official says coronavirus outbreak chances are low - Global News - Canada News Media
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Canada’s chief medical official says coronavirus outbreak chances are low – Global News



The chief medical officer says Canada’s chances of getting a coronavirus outbreak is low as China locks down more cities in an effort to contain its spread.

Dr. Theresa Tam says as of Thursday there are no confirmed cases here.

Her comments come as China’s National Health Commission confirmed it is dealing with 830 cases of the new virus and 26 deaths.

China scrambles to build 1,000-bed hospital dedicated to coronavirus patients

China’s lockdown affects at least 10 cities in central Hubei province, encompassing about 33 million people.

Montreal-based acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil has also cancelled all performances in Hangzhou, China as a precaution.

It says it made the decision to cancel performances of “The Land of Fantasy” show after Chinese officials requested the temporary closing of all indoor activities with 100 or more people to stem the outbreak.

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20 million in China under lockdown as coronavirus spreads

20 million in China under lockdown as coronavirus spreads

Some countries such as the Philippines have installed thermal scanners at airports to detect potential carriers of the disease when they arrive from China as those infected have displayed flu-like symptoms such as fevers.

Tam says Canada has no plans to follow suit.

“In our experience during SARS, we scanned millions of people and didn’t pick up a single case,” she said.

“What we know is if you get infected, there could be many days between being infected and being symptomatic or having a fever.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Mass quarantines won’t happen in Canada if coronavirus is discovered



Canadians have no need to worry about the prospect of mass quarantines, even in the likely event the coronavirus is discovered here, public health authorities said on Friday.

They said scary images coming from a now isolated Wuhan, a Chinese city with 11 million people, will not be repeated here.

“Absolutely not,” Dr. Peter Donnelly, with Public Health Ontario, said. “If a case comes here, and it is probably likely that we will have a case here, it will still be business as normal.”


In addition to Wuhan, where the virus outbreak has been concentrated, China has shut transportation in at least 12 other cities home to more than 36 million people. Bustling streets, malls and other public spaces have turned eerily quiet, masks are mandatory in public, and some hospitals have run low on medical supplies.

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, urged people to consult credible information sources on the outbreak. Good places include websites of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Public Health Ontario and Toronto Public Health, she said.

“I ask members of the public to rely on evidence-informed, credible sources of information when you’re looking for updates,” de Villa said.

So far, the coronavirus is reported to have killed more than two dozen people and made hundreds of others ill. Symptoms can mirror those of the cold and flu, including cough, fever, chest tightening and shortness of breath, but can worsen to pneumonia.

While no cases have been reported in Canada, concerns about the virus have stirred memories of the SARS outbreak in 2003 that killed 44 Canadians and saw Toronto turn temporarily into something of an international pariah after the World Health Organization issued a travel advisory warning people to avoid the city.

Donnelly said the situation is now very different from what it was then. Authorities, he said, are much better prepared than they were for SARS: Communications are more robust, hospitals have better isolation facilities, and a reliable test is available to detect the coronavirus within 24 hours.


“This was a disease unknown to science only two weeks ago and we now have the full genetic fingerprint of the virus and we have a test, which is specific and reliable,” Donnelly said. “In situations like this, speed and certainty are both very important.”

Health officials were also working with the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg to develop an even quicker test.

The federal government has beefed up measures at major airports in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.

Visitors are now being asked about any travel to Wuhan in the past 14 days and a positive response would trigger further investigation.

Ontario Health Minister Christine Eliott said border agents will decide if a traveller needs an immediate medical assessment and treatment. An ambulance would take the person from the airport directly to hospital. Fact sheets are also being prepared, she said.

De Villa stressed the importance of good hygiene to prevent virus transmission. Simple steps include washing hands thoroughly, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home if you’re ill.

While the World Health Organization has decided for now against declaring the outbreak a global emergency, Donnelly said public health authorities were still working to ensure any cases here are dealt with effectively.


“We are not complacent, we’re working extremely hard on this but we are quietly confident that we can handle this,” Donnelly said.

Canada’s chief medical officer has said the chances of a outbreak here were low. Health officials note the common cold comes from the same family as the latest coronavirus and that influenza virus kills thousands of Canadians every year.

On Friday, Quebec health officials said coronavirus tests on six travellers from China under observation in Montreal and Quebec City hospitals had come back negative.

Dr. Horracio Arruda, Quebec’s director of public health, said earlier in the week the six had landed in Quebec with symptoms associated with the illness. Arruda said vigilance is key.

“There’s no reason for fear because sometimes the epidemic of fear is greater than what is going on,” he said.

–With files from Sidhartha Banerjee in Montreal

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China among WTO members backing Canada’s alternate trade dispute scheme



As the U.S. continues to paralyze the World Trade Organization’s system for appealing trade disputes, 17 members of the trade organization announced Friday they will collaborate on an alternative initiated by Canada and the European Union to resolve complaints that emerge between them in the meantime.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where ministers representing like-minded trading partners have been grappling with how to proceed as a group, unless and until Americans’ concerns about the need for WTO reform can be resolved.

“We believe that a functioning dispute settlement system of the WTO is of the utmost importance for a rules-based trading system, and that an independent and impartial appeal stage must continue to be one of its essential features,” said the joint statement released Friday by the group.

The WTO continues to try to resolve disputes at its committees, and panels are still struck to review complaints and report back when member countries are alleged to have broken the rules.

But as of December, the WTO’s appellate body no longer has enough members to hear new appeals.

For the last few years, the United States has refused to agree to the appointment of any new adjudicators until its concerns about the existing process are addressed. Without a consensus among its members on how to proceed, the trade organization is paralyzed.

Canada’s complaint and request for arbitration with the United States over softwood lumber duties is among the cases now stalled.

Canada and the European Union first announced an interim arrangement for resolving trade disputes with each other last July. Now fifteen more countries have climbed aboard. They are:

  • Australia.
  • Brazil.
  • China.
  • Chile.
  • Colombia.
  • Costa Rica.
  • Guatemala.
  • Republic of Korea.
  • Mexico.
  • New Zealand.
  • Norway.
  • Panama.
  • Singapore.
  • Switzerland.
  • Uruguay.

Many of these countries met in Davos this week as part of the WTO’s Cairns group: agricultural exporters who share the  common cause of wanting to liberalize trade barriers.

But the most significant player in this new alternative scheme may be China.

Temporary solution

Many of the American concerns about the WTO centre on complaints about whether the terms of China’s membership in the WTO are fair. But China has a reasonable track record of complying with the final decisions of the WTO’s now-paralyzed dispute resolution process.

Neither China nor the U.S. was part of the Ottawa group, a collection of WTO members that also held a working dinner in Davos hosted by Canada’s trade minister, Mary Ng, to continue talks on WTO reform that began under Canada’s leadership in 2018.

The door was left open to China and anyone else joining the broader conversation around possible solutions at an appropriate time.

Friday’s agreement now sets these countries on a path to being able to resolve future disputes with China, a dominant player in international trade because of its massive market size, manufacturing capacity and corresponding economic influence.


European Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan emphasized that the parallel system initiated by Canada and the EU is only meant to be temporary, and the partners involved are still working towards WTO reform as a whole. (Virginia Mayo/Associated Press)


The statement characterizes this interim system as “contingency measures” to “allow for appeals amongst ourselves” when the findings of those panels are in dispute. It’s based on Article 25 of the WTO’s dispute settlement rules, which allow for multi-party interim arrangements.

The statement says it will be in place “only and until a reformed WTO Appellate Body becomes fully operational” and any other WTO members are welcome to join these already signing on.

‘Dramatic’ move on WTO reform coming: Trump

More work remains to determine exactly how the new appeals process will work and what arbitrators will hear its cases.

“We have also taken proper note of the recent engagement of President Trump on WTO reform,” the group’s joint statement said.

In his closing news conference before leaving Davos Wednesday, the American president told reporters that a delegation from the WTO’s directorate was visiting Washington next week or the week after, and portrayed these talks as a form of negotiation toward reform.

Because the organization isn’t top-down, but only proceeds based on negotiations between its members, it’s unclear any kind of deal could result, although it would allow the White House to communicate its concerns directly.

“We’re going to do something that I think will be very dramatic,” Trump said, without giving any indication what exactly he had in mind.

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Western University 2nd in Canada for number of 'sugar babies' – CTV News London



Western University is second on a list of Canadian universities with the most registered “sugar babies.”

The list was compiled by Seeking Arrangement, a website that connects so called “sugar dadies” and “sugar babies.”

The service is primarily aimed at young woman with the goal of finding someone to help them financially in exchange for companionship.

While the website is heavily geared towards men it does also connect male sugar babies with “sugar mamas.”

At times these relationships can lead to negotiable sexual favours.

Seeking Arrangement considers itself a dating site and notes that sexual relationships can develop.

According to their website there are nearly 1-million female sugar babies in Canada, and roughly 225,000 male sugar babies.

The list places Western University second among Canadian Universities with 777 members. First on the list is the University of Toronto with 1,158 registered members.

According to Seeking Arrangement a student receives and average monthly allowance of nearly $3,000.

With files from CTV Kitchener.

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