Canadians need to take “strong action” to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus, Canada’s top doctor said Sunday.
To date, 313 Canadians have been diagnosed with the new virus and cases have been confirmed or presumed in each of the 10 provinces, said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.
“With cases rapidly increasing in Canada, particularly in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta, our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow,” Tam said.
“COVID-19 is a serious public health threat.”
Close to 25,000 have been tested for the new virus to date, she said.
Federal officials have told Canadians to refrain from non-essential international travel until further notice. Tam said all international travellers arriving in Canada should self-isolate for 14 days.
Canadian travellers were previously advised to self-monitor if returning from trips, but Tam says stricter measures are necessary.
She says messages sharing the new advice are going out to airports across Canada today.
“I am also asking that you avoid large public gatherings and increase your personal physical space from others. Talk to your employer about contingencies or working from home if this becomes necessary,” she said.
Those at high risk especially need to practice social distancing in order to protect themselves from infection, she said.
“Everyone else needs to make sure to take all precautions to protect those at high risk while ensuring that they are fully supported and not isolated. This is our chance right here, right now. We need to act now and act together,” she said.
–With files from the Canadian Press
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