VANCOUVER — Health officials in British Columbia say a man in his 40s is presumed to have coronavirus and is doing well as he recovers at home.
Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, said Tuesday the man works regularly in China and lives in the Vancouver area.
She told a news conference the man has voluntarily isolated himself since returning to Canada last week and no members of his family have shown any symptoms as they are being monitored by health officials.
The government said the man began showing symptoms 24 hours after returning home. The majority of his most recent trip to China was spent in Wuhan, the city at the centre of an outbreak in that country.
He contacted a primary health-care provider on Sunday to notify them he had travelled to Wuhan and was experiencing symptoms before coming in for assessment and treatment.
The province expects to have tests results from the man’s case back from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg within 48 hours.
If confirmed, it would be the first case of coronavirus in B.C. There have been two other presumptive cases in Canada.
As officials in Vancouver were speaking, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said the risk in Canada is low.
“It’s a sign that the system is working,” Hajdu said in Ottawa.
“When we can confirm cases quickly, when we can actually do the appropriate investigations, that’s when we can contain the spread.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne was scheduled to hold a news conference later today to discuss the government’s plans to help Canadians who are stuck in China and unable to leave because of quarantines imposed there. Some of them want Canada to evacuate its citizens from China, as other countries are doing.
Champagne said he’s been in contact with the Chinese government and is co-ordinating with other countries on the ground ``as to what’s going on, what’s the best way to evacuate citizens.″
Hajdu said part of the planning involves how to bring back people who may be infected with the virus so that they don’t wind up spreading it in Canada.
“Canada is taking its responsibility very seriously to Canadians but also making sure that we know exactly how to do this and a process that will result in the safety of all Canadians,” she said.
The B.C. government also said the risk of the virus spreading in the province remains low.
“All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection,” a joint statement from Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix says. “We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond, in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.”
It says the BC Centre for Disease Control has developed a diagnostic test for the new coronavirus and is working to ensure potential cases can be detected quickly and accurately.
China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of a new form of coronavirus, with at least 106 deaths.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Jan. 28, 2020.