As of January 29, 2020, Canada has three confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus or 2019-nCoV.
On the same day, Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer (PHO), issued a statement saying, “The risk of spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time.”
“All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection,” Henry continued. “We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.”
Henry issued the statement to confirm that the first presumptive case of coronavirus in B.C. was indeed the 2019-nCoV.
“On Jan. 27th, our BC Centre for Disease Control public health lab locally confirmed a presumed positive test for 2019-nCoV. Following this, samples were sent to the National Medical Laboratory in Winnipeg for additional testing,” Henry said.
“This afternoon, those tests returned positive for 2019-nCoV, confirming the presumed case is indeed novel coronavirus,” the provincial health officer said in her January 29, 2020 statement.
“Public health officials are in regular contact with the individual who is in isolation at home,” Henry said.
Henry also said that it is “not necessary for the general public to take special precautions beyond the usual measures recommended to prevent other common respiratory viruses during the winter period”.
“Regular handwashing, coughing or sneezing into your elbow sleeve, disposing of tissues appropriately and avoiding contact with sick people are important ways to prevent the spread of respiratory illness generally,” Henry said.
On January 29, Ontario public health officials reported that a presumptive case of the new deadly strain of coronavirus reported earlier has been confirmed by the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg, bringing the number of confirmed cases in that province to two.
As of the morning of January 29, the flu-like virus had killed at least 170 people, all of them in China.
More than 7,700 others have been infected in more than a dozen countries, including five confirmed cases in the U.S.
More than 100 people in the U.S. were being tested for the disease across 26 states on Tuesday.
The B.C. man tested for coronavirus is a male in his forties. He travels regularly to China for work and was in Wuhan city on his most recent trip.
Wuhan in the province of Hubei in China is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, met President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China in Beijing on January 29.
They shared the latest information on the novel coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) outbreak and reiterated their commitment to bring it under control.
The two sides agreed that WHO will send international experts to visit China as soon as possible to work with Chinese counterparts on increasing understanding of the outbreak to guide global response efforts.
“Stopping the spread of this virus both in China and globally is WHO’s highest priority,” said Tedros.
“We appreciate the seriousness with which China is taking this outbreak, especially the commitment from top leadership, and the transparency they have demonstrated, including sharing data and genetic sequence of the virus,” Tedros said.
Much remains to be understood about 2019-nCoV. The source of the outbreak and the extent to which it has spread in China are not yet known.
While the current understanding of the disease remains limited, most cases reported to date have been milder, with around 20 percent of those infected experiencing severe illness.
In the Philippines, a 29-year-old Chinese patient under investigation for Coronavirus and who was earlier admitted to the San Lazaro Hospital in Manila has now been confirmed dead due to pneumonia.
This was announced by the Department of Health in an afternoon press briefing on January 29, 2020.
San Lazaro Hospital Director Dr. Edmundo Lopez said that it is not verified if the 2019-nCoV factored in the death since the Chinese national displayed a host of other health problems like testing positive for HIV, as well as swelling and lung findings.
The Department of Health is still waiting for the results of laboratory samples for 18 patients from the local Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, as well as six confirmatory results from an Australia-based laboratory.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the initial count of 27 patients under investigation has gone down to 23 after four patients were discharged.
All of the patients have a travel history to Wuhan in China, the ground zero of the newly discovered strain of coronavirus. None of them are Filipinos and most are Chinese nationals.
The Philippines still has no confirmed cases of the 2019 nCoV.