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The latest developments on COVID-19 in Canada

The latest news on the novel coronavirus and the illness dubbed COVID-19 (all times Eastern): 5:37 p.m. The Ontario Ministry of Health says two more people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the province today.

The latest news on the novel coronavirus and the illness dubbed COVID-19 (all times Eastern):


5:37 p.m.

The Ontario Ministry of Health says two more people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the province today.

The two new cases, both in the Greater Toronto Area, bring the provincial tally to 28.

The number of Ontario cases has climbed by six in the past 36 hours, but public-health officials say the risk of infection remains low.

The ministry says the latest cases all involve recent travel to global hotspots for the illness known as COVID-19 and there is still no evidence of community spread.


4:10 p.m.

The Public Health Agency of Canada is trying to find more than 260 Canadians who were on the last voyage of the Grand Princess cruise ship after fellow Canadian passengers were diagnosed with COVID-19 after returning from their cruise.

Three of Canada's 51 confirmed cases of the virus are in passengers on the Grand Princess cruise from Feb. 11 to 21.

The cruise began and ended in San Francisco.

Currently, the ship is off California with 237 Canadians on board and forbidden from leaving, according to the cruise line.

A handful of the thousands of passengers on board are being tested for the virus.


3:30 p.m.

British Columbia is activating its provincial pandemic plan to deal with the novel coronavirus.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says the province is ready to use emergency powers to protect the population, health workers, and the health system's capacity to help patients with other problems.

Dix says the B.C. government is also preparing for how it will function if large numbers of public employees get sick.

The plan is to be ready to operate under an outbreak that lasts up to four months.

Premier John Horgan says a committee of deputy ministers will oversee B.C.'s COVID-19 response, and the province now has four labs that can test for the virus.


2 p.m.

It appears the Ottawa Senators' road game against the San Jose Sharks on Saturday night is still on despite a recommendation to cancel large gatherings in the county where the Sharks play.

The Sharks have tweeted there will be a book drive at Saturday's game and the program director for TSN 1200 AM says the Senators' radio play-by-play crew travelled with the team to San Jose this morning.

The Sharks opted to play a home game Thursday against the Minnesota Wild after Santa Clara County recommended cancelling large gatherings because of the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The team announced that about 14,500 fans attended.


11:54 a.m.

Ontario public health officials say the number of novel coronavirus cases in Ontario has climbed by four in the past 24 hours

Besides two new cases in Toronto, authorities in suburban Mississauga a couple who had been on a cruise in San Francisco were diagnosed after returning home.

The regional public-health unit is asking passengers who were in rows 18 to 22 on WestJet flight 1199 on Feb. 28 to self-isolate, but say the risk of contracting the illness known as COVID-19 remains low.

The Mississauga couple had been aboard the Grand Princess, the cruise ship now being held off the coast of California because people on a previous cruise out of San Francisco have been diagnosed with COVID-19.


11:50 a.m.

The 129 Canadians who were quarantined after returning to Canada from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan have finally been allowed to return home.

The Canadians had been mostly confined to their rooms for two weeks aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama, Japan.

The Canadian government repatriated those without signs of the virus and put them under a further 14-day quarantine at the Nav Centre in Cornwall, Ont.

None of them showed signs of illness and Dr. Theresa Tam, the country's top public-health official, says they're all free to leave.

Meanwhile 237 Canadians are among thousands of passengers have been forbidden from leaving the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California while a handful of fellow passengers are tested for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson for Princess Cruises.


11:45 a.m.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu says Canada is increasing its funding for COVID-19 research by $20 million, after concluding that the $7 million it had planned to spend isn't enough.

Hajdu says applications for the initial amount were "overwhelming."

Forty-seven research teams will now get backing from the federal government, for work on treatment and epidemiology, vaccines and diagnostic tools, and on how to spread useful information and combat fear.


11:40 a.m.

Toronto's top public-health doctor says the latest patient diagnosed with COVID-19 there used public transit for several days before he was tested for the virus.

The man in his 40s is one of two recently confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Toronto, and recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas.

Dr. Eileen de Villa says the situation is considered low-risk, and transit riders without COVID-19 symptoms do not need to seek medical help unless they get a call from her unit.

The other Toronto case, a man in his 50s, recently returned to Canada from Iran.

Both men are isolating themselves in their homes.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 6, 2020

The Canadian Press

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