A group of volunteers are helping people flying from China to Edmonton quarantine themselves for 14 days, to prevent the potential spreading of COVID-19 — the official name of the coronavirus given by the World Health Organization on Tuesday.
Since the beginning of February, the volunteer group picks people up from the Edmonton International Airport.
There are now at least 50 people who have chose to put themselves under self-imposed quarantine in Edmonton.
“What we are [doing] is trying our best to stop the spread of this new virus,” volunteer Tony Li said.
There are no confirmed or probable cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the province, according to the latest update Tuesday from Alberta Health Services, but travellers are quarantining themselves just in case.
Volunteers drop off food and groceries outside of where people are staying, and some deliver home-cooked meals. Cobs Bread has been pitching in too.
People who choose to be in isolation or want to help, reach out over WhatsApp or on Twitter.
“So far we have 260 members, and I know in Edmonton there is another group doing the same thing,” Li said.
Lin said they are looking for people with basement suits, or other rental units that are sitting empty to consider letting someone stay for little or no cost during the two weeks they are isolated.
The group is asking for employers to be understanding if someone chooses to self-quarantine.
There are at least 30 more people that have inquired about going into isolation after returning to the city from China. The group is hoping more people will volunteer to help meet the growing need.
“If we are together, we are stronger. If we are united and really helping each other going into self isolation, I think that will minimize the risk for spreading,” Lin said.
This strain of coronavirus was first detected in December in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
The illness caused by the virus, which has since infected thousands in China and several other countries, had been nameless since the outbreak began. It was commonly referred to as 2019-nCoV by health officials.
The UN health agency explained that the name COVID-19 consists of the CO in coronavirus, VI in virus and D for disease; 19 stands for the year 2019.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 1,100 people have died of the disease and the total number of cases in mainland China was 44,653.