Second presumptive coronavirus case in Toronto less severe than first


The wife of Canada's first confirmed patient with the fast-spreading Wuhan coronavirus also has tested positive for it at an Ontario laboratory, and 19 other suspected cases in Canada are under investigation, public health officials said on Monday.

The man remains at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital receiving treatment, while his wife is in "self-isolation" at home, officials said.

The province says the woman has been in self-isolation with her husband since her arrival in Toronto last week.

Health officials in Ontario say that this morning's announcement concerning the second case of coronavirus in Toronto isn't surprising.

Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, said the new second case is less severe, and the new patient did not need the same level of acute care as her husband.

Toronto public health is working "flat out" to try to contact those passengers on the couple's January 22 flight from Beijing most at risk of infection - people in the three rows in front of and behind the pair's own seats, said Dr. Eileen De Villa, the city's medical officer of health. She remains under self-isolation at home in stable condition.

President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday China was in a struggle against a "demon" epidemic, as the death toll from the new SARS-like virus soared to 106 and the first cases of human-to-human contagion were detected overseas.

There are also no plans at the moment to restrict incoming flights from China, Williams said, adding that Canadian officials are taking direction from the World Health Organization and other experts. But others say local cadres were more focused on projecting stability earlier in January than adequately responding to the outbreak during regional political meetings.

People who sat near the Toronto patient on the plane from China are being contacted.

The man recently travelled to the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started. It can cause pneumonia, which has been deadly in some cases.

"We've also put into place measures at the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver worldwide airports, reminding travellers to inform a border services officer if they're experiencing flu-like symptoms".

"And we have ruled out about 15 or 16 as well".

Tam said a committee including officials from federal, provincial and territorial governments will be established on Tuesday to help share information.

The Government of Canada increased the travel risk to avoid all travel to Hubei, including Wuhan, Huanggang, and Ezhou. We are in contact with and support the Canadian Canadians, "said Champagne in a statement".

Since then, the number of cases has soared - doubling to more than 4,500 in the past 24 hours.

So far, three cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Canada. The SARS infection ultimately infected 8,000 people and killed 774, including 44 Canadians.

Symptoms associated with infection by the virus - which has been given the provisional name of 2019-nCoV - are more intense than influenza and include fever, pain, general malaise and breathing difficulties such as shortness of breath.