Air Canada has just announced the temporary suspension of all flights to Beijing and Shanghai starting January 30th.
The suspension will remain in effect until February 29th, and was deemed necessary in light of a Government of Canada travel advisory warning Canadians to avoid all travel to parts of China due to an outbreak of novel coronavirus.
“Affected customers will be notified and offered options, including travel on other carriers where available, or a full refund,” reads the statement from Air Canada.
“Air Canada currently operates direct flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.”
As of the time of publication, the death toll in China due to this new strain of coronavirus has risen to 132, with more than 5,900 confirmed cases in the country.
In Canada, a husband and wife in Toronto were recorded as the first two victims of coronavirus in the country.
The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BC-CDC) confirmed on Tuesday that a British Columbia resident has been diagnosed with the province’s first case of the novel disease.
The diagnosed man is a resident in the Vancouver Coastal Health region in his 40s. He regularly travels to China for work and returned from a trip to Wuhan City last week.
He contacted health care officials and said he was coming in for assessment and care. On January 27th, he was confirmed as having the province’s first case of coronavirus.
Many of the initial cases have been linked to the Huanan Seafood Market (also known as Wuhan South China Seafood City and South China Seafood Wholesale Market), which was closed on January 1st for disinfection following the outbreak.
“The risk of the spread of this virus within British Columbia remains low at this time,” said the Ministry of Health in a press release on Tuesday, January 28th.
“All necessary precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of infection. We have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond, in order to prevent the spread of serious infectious diseases in the province.”
However Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also stated that given the number of people who travel between BC and China, she expects more coronavirus cases to come to light in the province.
With files from Cormac O’Brien