Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam has said that the coronavirus will be nearly impossible to contain if the virus were to continue spreading internationally at the rate that it is.
Tam also said that Canadian businesses and individuals should prepare for an outbreak on near-pandemic levels, should that be the case.
“We are coming to similar conclusions,” said Dr. Vera Etches to the Ottawa Citizen Monday. “It looks like it is going to be more and more difficult to contain this virus and it may well evolve into a pandemic. That would change the efforts to contain every last case and contact.”
Etches, who serves as Ottawa’s top health officer, gave some basic steps that concerned citizens should follow—such as stockpiling non-perishable goods and needed prescriptions.
“Imagine if someone was ill for a week. What would you need?”
Dr. Tam went on to say that the risk of the virus becoming uncontainable has increased sharply since rapidly spreading in countries outside of China. “The window for containment is closing. These signs are worrisome.”
Within the country, both Ontario and British Columbia have confirmed that the virus has spread once again, with Ontario having briefly been coronavirus free after the first three cases were considered clear. In total, there are 11 cases of the novel virus in Canada.
Health officials are most recently tracking a woman in her 20s in Toronto who recently travelled to China, along with a Vancouver woman who recently travelled to Iran by way of Montreal. A man close to the woman also contracted the virus.
Iran is the latest country to endure a coronavirus induced panic. The Middle Eastern country now has 13 confirmed deaths, according to government figures.
In Europe, Italy is also in the midst of an outbreak, as 12 communities have been put on lockdown and a popular Venice carnival has been cancelled following six deaths from the disease.
Canada has so far been successful in the virus’s overall containment, being able to quickly identify and isolate those who’ve contracted the virus.
Dr. Tam believes getting out of winter, a high season for the spread of disease would be a big help for the country.
Globally, the coronavirus has infected nearly 80,000 people, with over 77,000 of the cases in China. Of the 2,618 deaths, only 23 have been outside of China, in 30 countries.