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Risk of Chinese coronavirus to Canadians low: Health Minister

BY , Jan 23, 2020 5:26 PM - REPORT AN ERRORLAST UPDATED ON Apr 24, 2020 3:31 PM

Travelers wearing face masks gather at Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. Face masks sold out and temperature checks at airports and train stations became the new norm as China strove Tuesday to control the outbreak of a new coronavirus that has reached four other countries and territories and threatens to spread further during the Lunar New Year travel rush. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says several people in Canada are being monitored for signs they may have contracted a coronavirus from China.

Hajdu says five or six people, including at least one in Quebec and another in Vancouver, are under observation but stresses the risk to Canadians remains low. She says there are no confirmed cases in Canada yet.

At least 500 people in China are infected with the virus and 17 people have died.

The city at the centre of the outbreak, Wuhan, is under quarantine as health officials scramble to understand the virus and keep it from spreading.

The World Health Organization is contemplating whether to declare a global health emergency because of the disease, which began in China but is now spreading to other countries.

Hajdu says it is important to be "cautious and prudent" but not alarmist as Canada works with international partners to identify the disease and determine the next steps to take.

People flying into Canada from overseas are being encouraged to self-report if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, and Hajdu says it is too early to determine what additional measures may be required.

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