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World isn't ready for coronavirus outbreak, says Canadian WHO expert – Calgary Herald

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OTTAWA — The world is not ready for the global spread of the novel coronavirus, according to the renowned Canadian epidemiologist who led a team of experts to China to study the virus on behalf of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Bruce Aylward returned from a two-week mission to China, including the city of Wuhan where the spread of the coronavirus began, urging other countries to get ready for a potential outbreak within their own borders as soon as possible.

“This virus will show up,” he warned at a briefing Tuesday.

“This is going to come soon, potentially. You’ve got to be shifting to readiness, rapid-response thinking.”

Aylward led a team of 25 world experts, who operated independently of the WHO and their associated institutions.

There are more than 80,000 confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and 2,700 people are known to have died from it, the vast majority of them in China.

The team found that countries should be looking to China for expertise in how to manage and treat the illness now known as COVID-19, noting that country has taken an aggressive approach to testing, containing and treating people who contract the coronavirus.

China has all but locked down whole cities of millions of people in an attempt to keep COVID-19 from spreading and has instituted door-to-door checks of people’s temperatures to find sick people and order them into mass treatment centres.

Despite the massive outbreak in China, Aylward said China has seen some success repressing the spread of the virus, with the number of new confirmed cases on the decline.

But he warned the spread of the virus to other countries seems inevitable, and they will need to tackle it with the goal of tracing every case and stopping chains of transmission.

He urged all countries to make sure hospitals increase their bed capacities and have enough ventilators for the very sick. He said they should also prepare to quarantine large numbers of people who come into contact with those who have confirmed cases of the disease.

“There’s nothing on that list that countries can’t do,” he said.

Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Tuesday that Canada is already ahead of many countries because it has a pandemic plan in place and federal authorities have been co-ordinating with provincial health care providers about the COVID-19 response for months now.

Still, Canada has so far been focused on containing sick people coming in from abroad and must now start to prepare for the possibility of local spread.

“As it appears that containment is less and less likely to be successful globally, we turn our attention to our domestic preparedness,” Hajdu said.

The health minister had a warning of her own, for all Canadians.

“It’s important for Canadians to realize that this may cause disruptions in their lives. It might mean that if someone is ill in their family that people may have to be isolated, that businesses may have to have contingency plans,” she said.

Aylward’s final report, which includes findings about how the disease is transmitted, has not yet been released. It had been submitted to the WHO and Chinese authorities, who will be responsible for releasing it to the public.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 25, 2020

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Canadian province of Ontario records another new case of Omicron variant

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The town of Durham in the central Canadian province of Ontario has recorded a case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the local health authority said in a tweet on Thursday.

The person involved had traveled to one of the 10 countries in southern Africa that Ottawa had identified as high risk. The announcement brings to 10 the number of people in Canada diagnosed with the new variant.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren)

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Canada confirms first Covid cases in wildlife – RFI

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Issued on: 02/12/2021 – 16:58Modified: 02/12/2021 – 16:56

Ottawa (AFP) – Canada has confirmed its first cases of coronavirus in wildlife — in three white-tailed deer.

The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease said the samples were collected in early November from the free-ranging animals in the Estrie region of Quebec along the border with the United States.

“Similar to findings in the United States, the deer showed no evidence of clinical signs of disease, and were all apparently healthy,” the agency said in a statement late Wednesday.

The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified on December 1, it added.

There is limited information on animals and Covid-19.

Authorities urged mask-wearing around wild deer, while they “continue to monitor and assess the potential implications of the virus on Canadian wildlife.”

The virus has previously infected multiple species of animals globally, including farmed mink, companion animals such as cats and dogs, and zoo animals.

The United States recently reported evidence of spillover of Covid from humans to wild white-tailed deer, with subsequent spread of the virus among deer.

But there has been no known transmission from deer to humans.

The first case of Covid-19 was detected at an animal market in Wuhan, China, where wild and domestic animals were sold. It is believed to have originated in an animal.

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Canada confirms first Covid cases in wildlife – FRANCE 24

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Issued on: 02/12/2021 – 16:58Modified: 02/12/2021 – 16:56

Ottawa (AFP) – Canada has confirmed its first cases of coronavirus in wildlife — in three white-tailed deer.

The National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease said the samples were collected in early November from the free-ranging animals in the Estrie region of Quebec along the border with the United States.

“Similar to findings in the United States, the deer showed no evidence of clinical signs of disease, and were all apparently healthy,” the agency said in a statement late Wednesday.

The World Organisation for Animal Health was notified on December 1, it added.

There is limited information on animals and Covid-19.

Authorities urged mask-wearing around wild deer, while they “continue to monitor and assess the potential implications of the virus on Canadian wildlife.”

The virus has previously infected multiple species of animals globally, including farmed mink, companion animals such as cats and dogs, and zoo animals.

The United States recently reported evidence of spillover of Covid from humans to wild white-tailed deer, with subsequent spread of the virus among deer.

But there has been no known transmission from deer to humans.

The first case of Covid-19 was detected at an animal market in Wuhan, China, where wild and domestic animals were sold. It is believed to have originated in an animal.

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