Passengers wear masks to prevent an outbreak of a new coronavirus in the high speed train station, in Hong Kong, on Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

Ontario doctors have confirmed Canada’s first “presumptive positive case” of the deadly coronavirus.

In a news conference Saturday, Ontario officials said a “presumptive positive” test result was recorded in Toronto after a man in his 50s who had travelled to Wuhan, China reported feeling ill on his return back to Canada.

The man is now in stable condition in Sunnybrook Hospital.

The illness, first detected last week in China, has infected more than 1,200 people and killed at least 41. The rapid spread has sparked Chinese authorities to place a number of cities on lock down.

READ MORE: Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said earlier Saturday that her government will raise its response level to emergency, the highest one, and close primary and secondary schools for two more weeks on top of next week’s Lunar New Year holiday. They will re-open Feb. 17.

The vast majority of the infections and all the deaths have been in mainland China, but fresh cases are popping up. Australia and Malaysia reported their first cases Saturday and Japan, its third. France confirmed three cases Friday, the first in Europe, and the U.S. identified its second, a woman in Chicago who had returned from China.

The virus can display symptoms similar to the common cold or flu, including fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

No cases have been confirmed in B.C. as of now, but at least two Lunar New Year events in the Lower Mainland were cancelled this weekend out of concern over the infection.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan lab joins global effort to develop coronavirus vaccine

On Friday, the federal government downplayed any concerns over an outbreak getting into the country.

Instead, Canada’s chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said officials are focusing efforts on having international travellers flying into Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver who are experiencing flu-like symptoms self-report to border officers.

– with files from The Canadian Press


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ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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