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  • We are on the highest level of alert to the highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact.

  • Ah, but that is not in order to alarm or scare people.

  • If we say there's a pandemic of Corona verse were essentially accepting that every human on the planet will be exposed to the virus.

  • The data does not support that as yet, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.

  • That was the message today from the World Health Organization.

  • As the Corona virus continues to spread across the globe.

  • More than 83,000 cases have now been confirmed in more than 50 countries.

  • Today, Mexico, Lithuania, New Zealand, Iceland and Nigeria reported their first cases.

  • Fear of a pandemic also sent investors for the exit for 1/7 straight trading day.

  • After yesterday's historic drop, markets again suffered triple digit losses.

  • Take a look at your screen there, lots of red here in Canada.

  • Quebec reported its first presumptive case, and Ontario confirmed its seventh case.

  • Both involves someone who recently returned from Iran AH country experiencing one of the worst outbreaks outside of China.

  • 15 Canadians in total have now been infected.

  • So how should you leave?

  • Preparing for a possible pandemic?

  • And how close is this to being declared one?

  • Dr.

  • Teresa Tam is Canada's chief public health officer.

  • And Dr Tam joins me now here in studio.

  • Hi, Doctor.

  • Nice to see you.

  • Thanks for coming in.

  • Let's talk about first your expectations where the classification of this is concerned.

  • And by that I mean, we're all watching the w h o to see, See if or when they declare this a pandemic.

  • So far today, they have not.

  • They fell short of that.

  • Do you expect this will become a pandemic?

  • Well, I think that day by the things that were sort of evolving quite rapidly.

  • So we're now seeing over 50 country with cases.

  • Um, I would think that this is a very difficult virus to stop in its tracks.

  • So I think actually, the most prudent thing to do is prepare for a pandemic ahead of time.

  • So that's where we're at intangible terms.

  • What does preparing for a pandemic mean?

  • I've taken look at preparedness and several different ways.

  • As an individual, I think you can prepare ahead of time to one.

  • Is it is like everyday preparedness, sort of one.

  • Protect yourself from getting sick, which includes washing your hands very regularly.

  • Um, try and maintain some distance from someone who's sick.

  • If you do get sick, it is actually really important to protect others, particularly in this case.

  • This Koran of ours is particularly serious for the older age groups and those with underlying medical conditions to protect them.

  • You really should stay at home of your sick, usually cover your calf, wash your hands and do all those sensible things that we tell people to do every flu season.

  • What a circle department, I mean.

  • We also suggested people that if you are going to be at home for a significant period of time, just like any other emergency, make sure you have enough medication that you normally need.

  • Make sure you make some plans for how are your kids or your dependence going to be looked after?

  • Maybe talk to you.

  • Employ ahead of time for more flexible work arrangements.

  • What it's telling work, cross training of other people to sort of step step into your job.

  • So these are actually things that we think that everyone can put ahead of time E Just want to be clear, though.

  • Are are you saying to Canadians to do that in light of the potential spread of Corona virus?

  • Like, are these specific recommendations based on where the virus is at right now?

  • Yes, I think, based on the fact that the virus is spreading in many countries, I think is a good time to remind all Canadians that although these sound like your basic things that you do, every flu season is really important for you to rehearse.

  • Talk to your kids, talk to your family and keep practicing these kind of motions.

  • What about preparedness, where the health system or largely is concerned?

  • My understanding is this week you had said that you were collecting data essentially from your your provincial counterparts and trying to figure out what kind of supplies hospitals have that kind of thing.

  • Why is that data now, now just being assembled?

  • Could it have been assembled earlier?

  • Should it have bean?

  • I think right now it's the public health system has bean in constant work mode ever since we first heard about this virus.

  • And by that I mean the system that identifies cases and their contacts and make sure we I don't follow the concepts and limits where to the community.

  • So that's really, really active right now.

  • If you look at China and Singapore police, it's like that where they've managed to actually reduce the outbreaks and put it to defense around the outbreak itself.

  • Those are the basic measures that we have to do in Canada.

  • Should we get community spread.

  • So the which is why staying home when you're sick.

  • Listening to public health when you're close contacts to stay at home is a sort of societal response that really helps reduce the impact of the pen.

  • You know, any kind of dynamic coming up.

  • The health system, of course, should be preparing.

  • We've had a pandemic plans for a substantial period of time.

  • Every winter, hospitals get a sort of exercise of sorts, but it is really just another refresh.

  • Another re look at what the requirements might be.

  • There are gonna be some tough decisions that house systems have to make when there are a lot of patients and including, you know, prioritizing your beds.

  • For those who are most in need, you may need to cancel elective surgeries and that type of thing.

  • But we've done this before in previous outbreaks and pandemics.

  • So I think our system has those plans and an infection prevention control measures.

  • It is a matter of just really looking at this in light of what we know about this virus.

  • Help us understand.

  • Based on what we do know about this virus.

  • When you talk about a country, for example, like China, which has which has put a lot of effort into containing it there, the difference is that we still see, regardless of that now the spread of the virus elsewhere in the world.

  • Why is that happening?

  • We have we saw so much coverage of the actions China was taking in the actions other, some other countries.

  • Is it because not all countries are as astringent or what happened?

  • Well, some of the measures have worked, but by containment, we what?

  • The objective right now.

  • So did lay this spread to Canada and delay the spreader community?

  • A virus knows those borders, so someone who's infected could be completely asymptomatic as they're crossing the international network of planes, ships and other vehicles.

  • Ah, virus that can cause mild symptoms.

  • 80% of people with Corona virus based on the largest study today have mild illness.

  • So my people are marvelous, can be walking around and spread this.

  • So there is no actual Jill graphical border that can stop viruses with these kind of characteristics.

  • So it is our objective to delay the spreading Canada at least until the current flu season.

  • This over because what that does is it reduces thesis Emel Tania's impacts on our whole systems.

  • There are a lot of people watching tonight.

  • I imagine who have travel plans for March break.

  • What is your advice where travel is concerned and in particular, What is your advice?

  • Where traveled to countries where we're seeing the spread of this virus in particular.

  • Right now, what is your advice for travel to those countries?

  • Well, I think, um, as my, um, global affairs colleagues would say, read, register and reach out.

  • So by reading, it means get yourself informed about where exactly is the coral in the vise right now?

  • So depends on where you're traveling.

  • Even within the country, that could be areas affected, and there was not register yourself and we tell Canadians going overseas to make sure you register so that our embassies and other departments will know your whereabouts.

  • The other thing is reads up on how you protect yourself from illness when you're traveling and doing you doing your travel, those hygienic measures, um, read about what the local situation is when you're there, but also when you return, this is really, really important.

  • Monitor yourself or illness for 14 days, in this case for the Corona virus.

  • The moment you get sick, stay home, isolate itself and call your health provider.

  • If everybody could do that, that will reduce the speed, the spread or introduction to Canada.

  • Significantly.

  • But you're not recommending everyone.

  • Cancel their march break plans at this point.

  • At this point, no, but you, because is very deferential risk.

  • But if you're elderly and you have underlying medical conditions, talk to your health of other because is it a risk that you should take?

  • Where exactly are you going?

  • And I think one particular setting that people are concerned about a cruise ships, for example.

  • So before you go on the cruise and many people I like to think cruises, many of them are actually canceled.

  • So also called back to your cruise ship companies to say, Well, what are your policies?

  • Many of them are screening people before they let you go on board.

  • If you're from any of the affected areas, you're not getting on board doing your cruise again.

  • Maintain hygienic measures the moment you get sick into your cabin and called the ship's clinic because there are protocols in place for how ships can manage illness on board.

  • If you don't do that early enough, that could spread.

  • If you do that early enough, inform someone well, things will be done to limit spreads.

  • Okay, I'll leave it there.

  • Thank you, Dr Tom.

  • Appreciate your time.

  • As always, it is my pleasure.

We are on the highest level of alert to the highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact.

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