Canada and COVID-19: what you need to know

As of Thursday March 12, 2020, the West Coast is on lock down. Both Alberta and British Columbia announced that gatherings or events of 250 or more people would be banned, as part of a new aggressive strategy towards fighting the worldwide pandemic of COVID-19.

This new strategy is expected to be adopted by the rest of the country as the need arises, with Ontario starting its measures with announcing the closer of all public schools through till April 5. Alberta has had 23 confirmed cases of the virus, and British Columbia leads the country with with 53.

Health officials across the country have urged the public to avoid travel to other countries during this time, including the United States, to self-monitor, and observe the health precautions set forth by the local public health authority.

The risk to public health is still considered to be low, and a nationwide outbreak of coronavirus is not expected at this time.

That being said, there is an increased risk to those Canadians:

  • 65 and older
  • with compromised immune systems
  • with underlying medical conditions

Canadian Timeline

December 31, 2019 – the World Health Organization was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China. The virus did not match any other known virus.

January 7, 2020 – China confirmed COVID-19.

January 15, 2020 – the Public Health Agency of Canada activates the Emergency Operation Centre to support Canada’s response to COVID-19.

January 22, 2020 – Canada implements screening requirements related to COVID-19 for travellers returning from China to major airports in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver.

January 25, 2020 – Canada confirms its first case of COVID-19 related to travel in Wuhan, China.

January 30, 2020 – the World Health Organization declares the outbreak of COVID-19 a public health event of international concern.

February 9, 2020 – Canada expands COVID-19 screening requirements for travellers returning from affected areas to 10 airports across 6 provinces.

February 20, 2020 – Canada confirms its first case related to travel outside mainland China.

March 9, 2020 – Canada confirms its first death related to COVID-19.

March 11, 2020 – the World Health Organization declares the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic.

March 12, 2020 – Alberta and British Columbia ban all gatherings of 250 people or more. Ontario shuts down public schools.

For Updates

A government resource has been set up with daily updates on the condition of the virus within Canada, and with all the information citizens may need to know if new updates arise – this includes links to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement Wednesday of Canada’s national response to the crisis.