Vancouver International Airport (YVR Airport/Twitter)

Canada to bolster screening of central China passengers for virus at 3 airports

Additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver

Canada plans to take measures at some major airports in the coming week to identify people travelling from Wuhan in central China who may have flu-like symptoms.

The change comes as U.S. officials say three American airports will screen passengers arriving from central China for a new virus that has sickened dozens, killed two and prompted worries about an international outbreak.

Officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say they will begin taking temperatures and asking about symptoms of passengers at New York City’s Kennedy airport and the Los Angeles and San Francisco airports.

The Public Health Agency of Canada says additional measures will include messaging on arrivals screens at the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver international airports reminding travellers from Wuhan to inform a border service officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

There will also be an additional health screening question added to electronic kiosks.

The agency notes the overall risk to Canadians is low, there are no direct flights from Wuhan to Canada and the volume of travellers arriving indirectly from the city is low.

“We will continue to work with federal, provincial and territorial partners and public health authorities to enhance Canada’s preparedness to rapidly identify, treat and prevent the spread of this emerging disease should it present in Canada,” Tammy Jarbeau, a Health Canada media adviser said Friday in an email.

“Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible importation of this new virus but is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy.”

Doctors began seeing a new type of viral pneumonia — fever, cough, difficulty breathing — in people who worked at or visited a food market in the suburbs of Wuhan late last month.

More than 40 cases of the newly identified coronavirus have been confirmed in Asia, including two deaths, although at least one involved a previous medical condition. Officials have said it probably spread from animals to people but haven’t been able to rule out the possibility that it spreads from person to person.

So far, the risk to the American public is deemed to be low, but the CDC wants to be prepared and is taking precautions, the center’s Dr. Martin Cetron said.

“The earlier we detect a case, the better we can protect the public, and the more we can understand about this virus and its risk for spread,” he said.

At least a half-dozen countries in Asia have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China.

The list includes Thailand and Japan, which both have reported cases of the disease in people who had come from Wuhan. Travel is unusually heavy right now as people take trips to and from China to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

— With files from the Associated Press.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 17, 2020.

The Canadian Press

AirportCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Additional Penticton washrooms open in time for weekend

Washrooms at Riverside, Skaha Lake Park, Okanagan Lake Park, more, now open

First day back; attending elementary school amid COVID-19

“… Social connections are certainly important for kids,” said Carmi principal Dave Ritchie.

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip appeals for living-donor kidney transplant

Okanagan Nation Alliance Grand Chief has chronic kidney disease

Column: Penticton Regional Hospital returning to ‘new normal’

If we’ve learned anything over the last few months, it’s how important good health is in our lives.

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Vernon protesters take Black Lives Matter movement to park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Bear strolls into Okangan homeowner’s living room

Conservation officers are searching for the bear, which entered a home in the Foothills area

Most Read