"We need to act now" says Canada's top doctor as all 10 provinces report COVID-19 cases

Mar 15 2020, 12:35 pm

COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing in Canada, and the country’s top doctor is calling on all residents to act quickly to stem the virus’ spread.

Canada is reporting 313 coronavirus cases, and the virus is now present in all 10 provinces, Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters Sunday.

“Our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow. We have to act now,” she said.

Case numbers are growing in Ontario, BC, and Alberta in particular. On Sunday, Ontario reported its largest single-day spike in cases, identifying 39 new ones.

Four Grand Princess cruise ship passengers who are in quarantine at Canadian Forces Base Trenton have also tested positive for the virus, Tam said.

Canada has tested 25,000 people for COVID-19 so far.

The virus jumped from an animal host to a human one at a market in Wuhan, China in late 2019. The initial outbreak was felt widely in China, but Tam said Canada now views Europe as the Epicentre of new virus infections.

Canada has advised against all international travel, and asked Canadians abroad to come home as soon as possible while commercial means are “still available.”

Canadians returning home are being asked to self-isolate for 14 days to make sure they don’t have the virus. That’s voluntary at the moment, and when asked whether self-isolation would be made mandatory, Tam said public health organizations “cannot be maintaining that kind of surveillance and daily monitoring.”

There have also been reports that people arriving in Canada haven’t been told by border staff to self-isolate. Tam said that’s something the federal government is working on.

With coronavirus on the rise, Health Canada is reminding individuals who attend events and large gatherings to monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19. And if you’re not feeling well, they recommend staying home at this time. Also, due to unexpected cancellations, please check the event you plan to attend is still taking place. Keep up with COVID-19 news here.