In the past few weeks, hundreds of cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Wuhan, China. News broke out today that that five people in Quebec, who have recently visited China, are being monitored for potentially being infected the coronavirus. One other person was being monitored but was supposedly discharged from the hospital due to testing negative for the virus. Some of these individuals are currently being held in Montreal hospitals.

It has not yet been confirmed whether these individuals are suffering from coronavirus or another form of respiratory illness. The situation is being watched closely.

Knowledge of this new virus came about on the final day of 2019 when multiple cases of pneumonia with unknown causes were reported in Wuhan City. On January 7, the cause was formally identified as a novel coronavirus.

On January 21, the first travel-related case of coronavirus was announced in the United States. Today, there is fear that the virus could have made its way to Quebec.

The World Health Organization is encouraging all countries to take any possible precautions with the new virus.

Airports in Asia are currently on extremely high alert.

Although it still has yet to be declared a global health crisis, this has not stopped the Pierre-Elliott Trudeau airport and local hospitals to begin taking proper safety measures.

It is for this reason that the five individuals continue to be monitored.

Provincial health officials earlier this week released an advisory to medical professionals detailing recommended precautions for potentially infected patients.

The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) also tells MTL Blog that its "staff has been instructed to screen any patient presenting to the Emergency or Outpatient clinics for symptoms similar to other respiratory tract infections, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and for travel in the regions/countries where the virus was identified within 14 days."

"If present, we take the necessary precautions. Additionally, we monitor the situation daily and update recommendations when new evidence is established.

The MSSS stated to MTL Blog, "to be clear: it is highly unlikely that any of the cases being investigated will turn out to be coronavirus. Most likely it is influenza."

"But we are not taking any chance. Having 5 cases under investigation is proof that our screening methods are working efficiently."

Legitimizing the realness of the situation, François Legault took to Twitter to ensure that the people of Quebec know that the government holds their health at a high priority.

His tweet was in response to that of Danielle McCann's, Quebec's Minister of Health, saying that the situation is being monitored very closely.

Translation: Coronavirus: I am in sustained contact with the #Santé#Publique of #Québec, which keeps me informed of developments. Our teams are ready to intervene to protect the population!

On the WHO's website, recommendations stated are "regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing."

The virus can be transmitted from person to person, so following these precautions is good practice.

To learn more about how Quebec is handling the new coronavirus, refer to the MSSS' press release.

This article has been updated.


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