Canadian officials note ‘high pandemic possibility’ of COVID-19 travelers in February 2020 – National

Canadian public health officials have noted the “high pandemic potential” of infected travelers arriving in Canada from dozens of countries that are witnessing outbreaks of the virus. COVID-19 in the weeks just before World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic, according to newly released documents.

Global News filed an information access request in the spring of 2020, requiring all records prepared by the Public Health Agency of Canada for “worst-case scenarios” and “generalized planning”. epidemic” for a period of one month prior to the official WHO statement on 11 March 2020.

In response, the agency released 138 pages of records showing that public health officials believe there is a “high probability of a pandemic” caused by infected travelers arriving from countries other than China. .

Officials from Public Health Canada said: “The import risk needs to be assessed because while air travel to China is currently restricted, spread to other countries is limited. other means that these countries are now sources of infected travelers to Canada,” officials from Public Health Canada noted in February. 27, 2020, memo.

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In particular, officials say the airports in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary are the most likely destinations for travelers from “high pandemic-prone” countries to come to Canada.

However, it was not until March 16, 2020, that the federal government closed the border with a sweeping crackdown on foreign nationals from most other countries coming to Canada.

READ MORE: Trudeau closes Canadian border to most foreign visitors amid coronavirus outbreak

For nearly two months at that point, health officials have insisted that the risk to Canadians from the virus is “low.” That memo also notes that “larger Canadian cities could see hundreds to thousands of moderate to severe cases, requiring emergency preparedness.”

“There may be 7,000-11,000 cases in the largest metropolitan areas in Canada, but there is considerable uncertainty around these estimates,” the memo notes.

“These numbers could be a worst-case scenario.”

Evaluations from the first days offer a stark contrast to the current reality: a pandemic is poised to enter its third year with a newly identified variant, Omicron, breaking out across the country. world.

In Toronto alone, there have been more than 182,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, while Canada as a whole has now seen more than 1.8 million cases.

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The country is now standing on the other side of a grim milestone, with 30,000 Canadians dying from the virus and provinces rushing to roll out large numbers of COVID-19 booster vaccines in a frantic attempt to ease the impact. The movement of the Omicron variant is highly contagious.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford described Tuesday’s effort as a “wartime stepping stone”.

Click to play video:'Ontario distributes free rapid COVID tests at home during the holidays'

Ontario distributes free rapid COVID home tests during the holidays

Ontario distributes free rapid COVID home tests during the holidays

Among the documents released to Global News was scenario planning that noted the potential for “social disruption” to critical infrastructure, supply chain issues and “inequity” widespread civil unrest” should the virus begin to spread widely in Canada.

Officials recommended looking at where Canada could ramp up domestic production of things like personal protective equipment and critical resources – something the federal government is still working on, with agreements near here to produce things like Vaccines against covid-19 and medicine domestic.

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READ MORE: Financial Update Says Omicron Uncertainty Covers Canada’s Inflation Forecasts

Just this week, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said in her autumn fiscal update that pressures remain on global supply chains making predicting next year a challenge.

“Virus outbreak waves prevent a full recovery in hard-hit businesses in areas requiring close contact, large gatherings or international travel,” financial update her said.

“The ongoing pandemic is also exacerbating supply disruptions and labor shortages affecting a wide range of industries, with acute challenges lasting through 2023.”

It’s a far cry from the early 2020 assessment that “the epidemic in China appears to be decreasing,” but one thing is clear that the pattern of the curved spheres thrown by the virus remains the same.

Click to play video:'Omicron threat and severity'

Omicron . Threat and Severity

Omicron . Threat and Severity

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc. Canadian officials note ‘high pandemic possibility’ of COVID-19 travelers in February 2020 – National


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