ontario coronavirus website

Three new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Ontario

Less than 24 hours after announcing that the total number of people in Ontario infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus had reached 15, the province's chief medical officer of health has confirmed three more cases of COVID-19.

Dr. David Williams is scheduled to host a news conference Monday afternoon to provide more details about these most-recent confirmed cases, which together bring Ontario's total up to 18.

On Friday afternoon, only seven confirmed cases were under investigation, all of them within the Greater Toronto Area. Three earlier cases in Ontario had already cleared.

After watching the number of COVID-19 patients more than double over the span of just one weekend, Toronto residents are growing concerned over the potential of a local outbreak.

Williams, however, has maintained that the virus does not appear to be spreading locally.

All cases of COVID-19 registered to date in the province are linked to recent travels in China, Iran or Egypt, according to public health officials. At least two patients are thought to have contracted the virus from relatives who recently travelled to one of these countries.

Canada's federal government has issued travel advisories warning citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to China, Northern Italy and Iran as of March 2. 

"Cases of COVID-19 were first reported in Wuhan, China, but have since been reported in other locations around the world," reads the travel advisory for Iran.

"COVID-19 can spread from person to person... Confirmed cases that are linked to Iran are being reported in other countries, including Canada, and more are expected."

The Level 3 travel advisory for China, updated today, warns similarly that "the World Health Organization (WHO) have confirmed human-to-human transmission is occurring."

As of Sunday, 87,137 cases of coronavirus had been confirmed globally with 2,977 patient deaths.

At least 2,873 people have died as a result of contracting the virus within China, according to the WHO, while another 104 deaths have been confirmed across 58 other countries globally.

With today's new cases in Ontario, 27 Canadians are now infected with COVID-19.

"In the last 24 hours there were almost 9 times more cases reported outside China than inside China," said the WHO's Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in a media briefing Monday morning.

"We are in unchartered territory. We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but which can also be contained with the right measures."

The WHO remains confident COVID-19 can be contained "with early, aggressive measures."

"We appreciate that people are debating whether this is a pandemic or not. We are monitoring the situation every moment of every day, and analyzing the data," said Ghebreyesus.

"I have said it before and I'll say it again: WHO will not hesitate to describe this as a pandemic if that's what the evidence suggests."

Toronto Public Health is similarly optimistic about stopping the spread of COVID-19.

"TPH continues to work with our provincial and federal health colleagues along with airports in response to this situation," reads the agency's website. "At this time the virus is not circulating locally, however given the global circumstances, TPH is actively working with City and health partners to plan for the potential of local spread."

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