Vancouver International Airport (YVR Airport/Twitter)

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

Canada plans to take measures at some major airports in the coming week to identify people travelling from Wuhan in central China who may have flu-like symptoms.

The change comes as U.S. officials say three American airports will screen passengers arriving from central China for a new virus that has sickened dozens, killed two and prompted worries about an international outbreak.

Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they will begin taking temperatures and asking about symptoms of passengers at New York City’s Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens at the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver international airports reminding travellers from Wuhan to inform a border service officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

There will also be an additional health screening question added to electronic kiosks.

The agency notes the overall risk to Canadians is low, there are no direct flights from Wuhan to Canada and the volume of travellers arriving indirectly from the city is low.

“We will continue to work with federal, provincial and territorial partners and public health authorities to enhance Canada’s preparedness to rapidly identify, treat and prevent the spread of this emerging disease should it present in Canada,” Tammy Jarbeau, a Health Canada media adviser said Friday in an email.

“Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy.”

Doctors began seeing a new type of viral pneumonia — fever, cough, difficulty breathing — in people who worked at or visited a food market in the suburbs of Wuhan late last month.

More than 40 cases of the newly identified coronavirus have been confirmed in Asia, including two deaths, although at least one involved a previous medical condition. Officials have said it probably spread from animals to people but haven’t been able to rule out the possibility that it spreads from person to person.

So far, the risk to the American public is deemed to be low, but the CDC wants to be prepared and is taking precautions, the center’s Dr. Martin Cetron said.

“The earlier we detect a case, the better we can protect the public, and the more we can understand about this virus and its risk for spread,” he said.

At least a half-dozen countries in Asia have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China.

The list includes Thailand and Japan, which both have reported cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan. Travel is unusually heavy right now as people take trips to and from China to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

— With files from the Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

AirportCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Poplar Ridge School receives county funding for new playground equipment

Two new gaga ball pits and a resurfaced basketball court will be going in at Poplar Ridge School

Visitor pay parking returns to Sylvan Lake

Visitor pay parking areas in the downtown and lakeshore areas is once again in effect

Still no confirmed active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer, central zone

There are 15 new confirmed cases were in Alberta, the province said Thursday

Sylvan Lake baseball stadium on track for 2021 season

The Sylvan Lake Gulls announced plans for the stadium and the team continue to move ahead as planned

Alberta discussing early Stage 2 economic relaunch

Nineteen new COVID-19 cases confirmed by government Wednesday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Sylvan Lake News is firmly committed to seeing you through the changes ahead, but we need your help

PODCAST: Black Lives Matter in central Alberta

Community organizers come on the show to discuss central Albertan anti-racist movement

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta Opposition calls on government to consult on provincial parks

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Alberta overhauls real estate regulator in wake of prior dysfunctional board

Most Read