Wuhan virus: Canada identifies first presumptive confirmed case

Travellers, wearing masks, arrive on a direct flight from China at Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, on Jan 24, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

TORONTO (REUTERS) - Canada on Saturday (Jan 25) declared the first presumptive confirmed case of coronavirus in a resident who recently returned from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak of the viral disease, the government said in a statement.

"The individual is stable and is hospitalised" the statement added.

The individual arrived in Toronto on Jan 22 and was hospitalised the next day after developing symptoms of respiratory illness.

The victim is a man in his 50s and Ontario health officials said he took private transportation home after getting down at Toronto airport.

Ontario health officials are investigating the details of the man's contact with others since arriving in Toronto. His family members have been put into self isolation, though the government declined to give the number of people in the family.

Early indications are that he took private transportation home after arriving at Toronto airport and then paramedics brought him to the hospital, they added.

Officials said the results from the provincial laboratory confirming the positive case arrived earlier on Saturday. Once the results from the local laboratory are confirmed by Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory, the case will be declared the country's first confirmed case of coronavirus.

Canada is on high alert to prevent the spread of coronavirus and avoid the repeat of Sars, or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, that killed 44 people in Canada, the only country outside Asia to report deaths from that virus in 2002-2003.

Coronavirus has infected more than 1,400 people worldwide with most of them in China.

Australia confirmed its first four cases of the new coronavirus in two different cities on Saturday.

Malaysia confirmed four and France reported Europe's first cases on Friday, as health authorities around the world scrambled to prevent a pandemic.

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