The Liberal Member of Parliament Han Dong of Don Valley North is in Ottawa pushing the government to increase preparations around the Wuhan Coronavirus and provide reassurance to families in his community. During Question Period in the House of Commons MP Dong publicly pressed the government for more answers about how Toronto’s border service officers, public health officials and hospital staff are working to protect our citizens.
The Canadian Minister of Health Hajdu responded with “Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for the question. Protecting Canadians is our priority. We have learned a lot from the SARS outbreak in 2003 and we are well-prepared to deal with this in Canada. We are all working collaboratively at all levels of government and we are sure that our system is prepared. We continue to work with the international community and the World Health Organization to ensure our measures and responses are effective.”
On Thursday Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general announced the decision that this is a public health emergency of international concern. The WHO declared the emergency after a meeting of its emergency committee, an independent panel of experts, amid mounting evidence of the virus’s spread from China to some 18 countries. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has killed 170 people. “Let me be clear, this declaration is not a vote of no confidence in China,” Tedros said. “Our greatest concern is the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems.”
The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau is also taking a leadership role in the health emergency. While in Brampton he responded to reporters about Canadians in the Wuhan province of China looked to be repatriated from China and he said “There are a number of steps to go through with Chinese authorities and Canadian consular officials in China,” he added. “We will keep you posted as soon as we have a little more clarity around what the date could be. But we are looking first and foremost at ensuring the safety of Canadians in China and the safety of Canadians back here at home as well.” So far only 3 Canadians have confirmed Wuhan Coronavirus and the Canadian health care system has responded efficiently.