By Ben Macintosh
There are currently no cases of novel coronavirus, the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, on PEI (photo credits: The CT Mirror)
Lately there has been a lot of news surrounding novel coronavirus, a new virus which has quickly spread across the world. Currently there are no confirmed cases on PEI or in Atlantic Canada, but health authorities are taking the situation seriously and are taking precautions to protect the public.
Hereâ€™s how authorities are responding to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on PEI:
The Government of PEIâ€™s website on coronavirus says the risk of contracting the virus is low for Islanders as there are no confirmed cases in the province.
â€œThere are no cases of COVID-19 in Prince Edward Island and the overall risk to Islanders and Canadians remains low at this time.â€
On their website, the province lists routine measures to avoid respiratory illnesses like coronavirus. These include:
- Limit touching your face and not sharing water bottles or drinks
- Frequent hand washing with soap and water and using hand sanitizer whenever necessary
- Coughing and sneezing into your elbow or a tissue
- If you have a severe cold or flu, stay home
- If possible avoid contact with people who are sick
In a press release on Tuesday, the provincial government announced that all Public School Branch-sanctioned abroad trips in March would be cancelled.
UPEI has suspended travel to China for UPEI programs or university business until further notice. The university is also recommending students and faculty follow all government travel advisories.
â€œBecause of the evolving nature of the COVID-19 situation, the university is strongly advising to monitor Government of Canada travel health notices before travelling to affected areas to affected areas (Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea).â€
UPEI’s website advises anyone who feels unwell and/or develops a fever and cough should see their health-care provider or make an appointment at the UPEI Health and Wellness Centre.
â€œItâ€™s also not too late to get your flu shot through the Centre, your health-care provider, or your local pharmacy.â€
For anyone traveling outside of Canada, the provincial government recommends monitoring yourself for 14 days after returning home. They also recommend avoiding large gatherings, visiting elderly people or people with medical conditions until after the 14 days.
People on PEI who are concerned they may have the disease should call 8-1-1 for assessment.
For more information on the status of coronavirus across Canada you can see the Government of Canadaâ€™s website.Â
What is happening in the rest of Canada:
As of March 9, 2020, the Government of Canadaâ€™s webpage says there are 79 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada, none in Atlantic Canada. One Canadian has died as a result of the virus.
The majorities of cases in Canada are in Ontario and British Columbia, with Quebec and Alberta also reporting several cases.
Air Canada will suspend flights to and from Italy this week due to â€œongoing health and safety concerns.â€ The last flight to Italy is today and the last back to Canada is scheduled for Wednesday.
Canadaâ€™s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has warned Canadians to avoid cruises after three Canadians contracted the virus while on a U.S.-based cruise ship.
The federal government has made many recommendations on how Canadians can avoid contracting the disease and what they should do in the event of an outbreak in their area. These recommendations can be found online.
People traveling abroad can check the government of Canadaâ€™s website for information on travel advisories.
Here’s what is happening around the world:
Originating in China, coronavirus has quickly spread around the world. As of Tuesday there have been nearly 120,000 cases worldwide and over 4,200 deaths.
Many countries have been forced to take aggressive action to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Early on China quarantined millions in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, and on Tuesday the entire country of Italy was effectively put on lockdown and the number of cases swelled to over 10,000.
Travel restrictions have been put in place in countries all around the world and research should be done before you travel in the near future.