Canadian officials reach out to CZ311 passengers as coronavirus spreads

TORONTO — Canadian health officials are reaching out to passengers aboard the Jan. 22 CZ311 China Southern Airlines flight who sat within two metres of Toronto’s first confirmed case of coronavirus.

The man’s wife is the second case. The couple’s first flight started in Wuhan. Their Toronto-bound flight was coming in from Guangzhou.

Yesterday Global Affairs Canada updated its travel health notices, warning Canadian travellers to avoid non-essential travel to Hubei Province including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou.

Meanwhile the director-general of the World Health Organization has flown to China to meet with government officials and health experts trying to contain the spread of the virus that has killed 81 people in China and infected 2,750.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said the U.N. health agency wants “to understand the latest developments and strengthen our partnership with China in providing further protection against the outbreak.”

Last week, WHO held off on declaring the virus a global health emergency. It said China had taken very strong measures – including locking down cities that are home to 50 million people – that the agency hoped would be effective in containing the virus and “short in duration.”

Tedros said he would not hesitate to reconvene the WHO emergency committee at a moment’s notice if the situation in China changed. He said that could happen “in a day” if that was needed.

With file from The Associated Press