The social and economic response to the coronavirus threat is changing by the hour in Southwestern Ontario and across Canada. Here is a rundown of our latest coverage on the London-area fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic
Stop and think before you share personal information over the phone or click on COVID-19-related links — that’s the advice coming from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, as reports of coronavirus scams pop up across the country.
“Fraudsters are quick to pick up on world news,” said Jeff Thomson, a senior RCMP analyst with the anti-fraud centre.
“[They’re] really good at creating that situation of urgency or panic when they want people to react and do what they’re saying right away.”
The key, Thomson says, is to know that these scams are happening and to check with friends, family, or official government websites before giving away any of your information.
Here are some of the COVID-19 scams that have been reported:
Text messages offer free face masks
The most prolific scam in Canada so far has been a text message, from a number claiming to be the Red Cross, offering free face masks.
The message contains a link to a fake Red Cross website where the person is then asked to either make a payment, either for a donation or to pay for delivery of the mask, according to Thomson.
The Canadian Red Cross has confirmed that it is not sending out any text messages or emails like this and advises anyone who gets one to delete it immediately.
Fraudsters are sending emails pretending to be from the World Health Organization or the Public Health Agency of Canada with links purporting to provide updates on the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thomson says not to click on those links, because the website will likely try to trick you into providing personal information. Instead, if you’re looking for information, you should visit the federal government’s official website for updates.
Test results phone call
Some people report receiving phone calls and voicemails from scammers pretending to be from a public health agency.
In these calls, the fraudster says the person has tested positive for the coronavirus and, to get a prescription, must provide the scammer with their credit card and health card numbers.
Real public health officials will not ask for your credit card information.
There have been some reports of scammers going door to door, either selling fake decontamination services or fake coronavirus testing kits.
Only hospitals and public health agencies are authorized to perform coronavirus tests, and will not charge. No other tests are genuine or guaranteed, according to Thomson.
Thomson also warns that more scams are likely to pop up in the days and weeks ahead.
These could include phone calls to businesses saying they have to update first aid kits, and loan scams exploiting of the financial fallout of the pandemic.
If you’re the target of a COVID-19 scam, Thomson urges you to report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or your local police department.
Got COVID-19 symptoms? Avoid snuggling with Fluffy and Fido, experts advise – CTV News
Canadians who are sick with COVID-19 or suspect they have the virus are being warned to be careful around their pets and other animals.
“COVID-19 virus infections have become widely distributed in the human population. In some rare circumstances, some animals have become infected through close contact with infected humans,” says a statement on the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association website.
The association points out that there is no evidence to suggest that animals infected by humans are playing a role in the spread of COVID-19 and that human outbreaks are driven by person-to-person contact.
But as a precautionary measure, it refers to recent recommendations from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency which say anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or those who are self-isolating due to contact with a COVID-19 case should follow similar recommendations around pets and livestock as they would around people.
That includes avoiding close contact with animals, good handwashing and avoiding coughing and sneezing on animals. It also means limiting your animal’s contact with other people and animals outside the household, and if possible, have someone else in your home care for your animals.
“Scientists are still trying to understand if and how (COVID-19) affects animals. This is an area that continues to be studied,” the CFIA website says, citing the World Organisation for Animal Health.
The organisation says on its website that evidence suggests COVID-19 emerged from an animal source, and that genetic sequence data shows it is a close relative of other coronaviruses in horseshoe bat populations.
But it says to date, there is not enough scientific evidence to identify the source or to explain the original route of transmission from an animal source to humans.
“Currently, there is no evidence that companion animals are playing a significant epidemiological role in this human disease,” the organization’s website states.
“However, because animals and people can sometimes share diseases (known as zoonotic diseases), it is still recommended that people who are sick with COVID-19 limit contact with companion and other animals until more information is known about the virus.”
The Saskatchewan government said Sunday that anyone with COVID-19 should avoid contact with animals.
“If there is already an animal in the household, that animal should remain in isolation along with the patient,” a provincial news release said.
The Bronx Zoo announced Sunday that one of its tigers tested positive for the new coronavirus. The four-year-old Malayan tiger named Nadia – and six other tigers and lions that have also fallen ill – are believed to have been infected by a zoo employee who wasn’t yet showing symptoms, the zoo said.
Despite warnings to avoid animals, the CFIA notes that if you’re not showing COVID-19 symptoms or self-isolating, taking walks with pets and spending time with them is still beneficial for both of you.
“Pets contribute to our overall happiness and well-being, especially in times of stress,” the agency’s website says.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published April 5, 2020.
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“Now, I can really understand and support the seriousness of just staying home, and not spreading this.
“It truly affects every person differently, and I consider myself to be very lucky to have it only last a couple of weeks, and some people it’s very mild, and some people die. You just don’t know, it’s literally a roll of the dice.
“So, if anything I can just say please stay home.
“I’ve done it. It’s like 22 days now, and I’m actually cool. It’s all good.”
LFP's providing unlimited access to our COVID-19 coverage. Here's the latest: April 6 – The London Free Press
The social and economic response to the coronavirus threat is changing by the hour in Southwestern Ontario and across Canada. Here is a rundown of our latest coverage on the London-area fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic:
ICYMI: News from the weekend:
CORONAVIRUS CASES: THE NUMBERS
(*Figures for Southwestern Ontario as of Sunday, April 5, 2020 at 5 p.m.)
- Ontario: 4,038 cases; 119 deaths
- London and Middlesex County: 134 cases; five deaths
- Oxford and Elgin counties (combined): 21 cases; two deaths
- Brant County: 46 cases; one death
- Chatham-Kent: 12 cases; one death
- Sarnia-Lambton: 79 cases; eight deaths
- Huron-Perth: 17 cases; one death
- Grey-Bruce: 21 cases; no deaths
- Windsor-Essex: 184 cases; three deaths
- Regional case total: 514
- Regional deaths: 21
Each day we will have a rundown of our latest coverage on the London-area fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic
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