Loading articles...

Suspected cases of coronavirus in Ontario up to 23 from 19

Last Updated Jan 29, 2020 at 11:48 am EDT

Christian Drosten, director of the institute for virology of Berlin's Charite hospital stands next to a centrifuge after an interview with the Associated Press on his researches on the coronavirus in Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Ontario health officials now say the number of suspected cases of coronavirus that they are investigating has gone up to 23.

On Tuesday, the province said 19 people were being tested and that eight people were cleared of the virus.

The province has not said what has accounted for the increase in numbers.

So far, there are two confirmed cases and one presumptive case of coronavirus in Canada.

The two confirmed patients are a husband and wife who returned to Toronto on Jan. 22 after a visit to China that included a stay in Wuhan, where the new strain of coronavirus is believed to have originated.

The presumptive case is a man in his 40s from British Columbia. Officials said he is doing well as he recovers at home.

Toronto Public Health has set up a hotline for passengers who travelled on China Southern Airlines flight CZ311 — the same flight as the couple — which arrived in Toronto from Guangzhou. People who were on this flight can call 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with questions.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, said officials have connected with people who sat near the Toronto couple on their flight home from China.

Meanwhile, Air Canada has cancelled select flights to China as travellers delay or call off travel plans over fears of the coronavirus outbreak.

Ottawa is advising against all travel to China with more than 6,000 people now infected with the virus — more than the outbreak of SARS in 2002-2003. While the new form of coronavirus has killed more 100 people in China, all Canadian patients are in stable condition and public health officials say the risk of infection remains low.

Meanwhile, about half of the 250 Canadians registered as being in the quarantined city of Wuhan are asking the federal government to help bring them home.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Wednesday morning that his government is working closely with its consular officials in China. He said it’s a complex situation and his government is looking what it can do to support the Canadians.