Canada prepared to monitor for community spread of COVID-19: Tam

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OTTAWA — Canada’s top public-health official Theresa Tam says Canada has begun to look at surveillance for local transmission of the novel coronavirus, just as the United States confirmed a case of the virus that does not appear linked with international travel.

The risk of contracting the disease in Canada is low, but for the second day in a row the number of new cases confirmed outside China was greater than the number of new cases within the country where the illness was first detected.

World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says the world is at a decisive point in its fight to contain the virus, which has now spread to 46 countries.

The U.S. confirmed one case of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, in California Thursday that could not be linked to international travel, suggesting the person contracted the virus within the United States.

In a briefing Thursday, Tam says Canada has methods to monitor for possible spread of the virus at the community level — systems that are typically used to monitor influenza — and if public-health agencies discover the spread of COVID-19 they will work quickly to try to contain it.

There are 13 confirmed cases of the virus in Canada, but so far all have been linked to international travel or close contact with someone who had recently returned to the country.

 

—With files from the Associated Press