Canadian public health agencies are working to be ready to deal with the coronavirus, in a Jan. 23, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada prepares as WHO decides whether to declare global coronavirus emergency

Canadian public health agencies are ramping up preparations to deal with the coronavirus as the World Health Organization prepares to give more information on whether to declare the outbreak in China a global health emergency.

The organization’s expert committee is to continue its meeting for a second day today.

The city of Wuhan, China, has shut down outbound flights and trains as the country battles the spread of the new virus that has sickened hundreds of people and killed 17.

An official state-run news agency says the city has also asked people not to leave without specific reasons.

There have been no cases reported in Canada, but public health officials say they would not be surprised if the virus does make its way here — or already has.

Dr. David Williams, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health, says the virus comes from the same family that can lead to the common cold, and caused the outbreak of SARS about 17 years ago that killed at least 774 people worldwide, including 44 in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 23, 2020.

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