Coronavirus General Info

This free tip sheet provides some basic information on the Coronavirus to help keep our customers aware of the virus and how to best protect themselves.  This info is reference material from experts on these types of outbreaks – we are not experts just attempting to help share info with anyone looking for reference material. For the latest info – check with the experts.

Note that the Coronavirus is also impacting product availability for virtually every industry that has manufacturing in China. Some products on our site may have limited availability, but with the majority of our suppliers being located in North America and Europe, meaning we’ve only seen minor impacts to date.

Coronavirus Info from WHO

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include 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.

Government of Canada – Coronavirus Info

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV)A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.  

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.  Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include 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.

Prevention & Treatment from Center of Disease Control (CDC)

Prevention

There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using facemask.
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear facemask to protect themselves from respiratory viruses, including 2019-nCoV.
    • Facemask should be used by people who show symptoms of 2019 novel coronavirus, in order to protect others from the risk of getting infected. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.

For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website

For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings

These are everyday habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. CDC does have specific guidance for travelers.

Treatment

There is no specific antiviral treatment recommended for 2019-nCoV infection. People infected with 2019-nCoV should receive supportive care to help relieve symptoms. For severe cases, treatment should include care to support vital organ functions.

People who think they may have been exposed to 2019-nCoV should contact your healthcare provider immediately.

See Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals for information on persons under investigation.

Government of Canada – Novel Coronavirus infection:

 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

About the virus

1. What is novel coronavirus (2019-nCov)?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. They can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV). Some transmit easily from person to person while others do not. The 2019-nCoV is a new strain of the virus that has not been previously identified in humans.

China determined that a novel coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV) is responsible for the outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan. Authorities in China and worldwide are conducting further investigations to better understand where the disease came from, how it is spread and the clinical severity of illness in humans.

2. What are the symptoms?

Those who are infected with 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) may have little to no symptoms. You may not know you have symptoms of 2019-nCoV because they are similar to a cold or flu.

Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.

Symptoms have included:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

In severe cases, infection can lead to death.

3. What are the risks of getting coronavirus?

The public health risk associated with the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Wuhan, China, is low for Canada and for Canadian travellers.

Canada has no direct flights from Wuhan and the volume of travellers arriving indirectly from Wuhan is low. However, at this time, the Government of Canada recommends that Canadians avoid non-essential travel to China due to an outbreak of 2019-nCoV.

Canada also recommends that Canadians avoid all travel to the province of Hubei, including the cities of:

  • Ezhou
  • Wuhan
  • Huanggang

This recommendation is due to the heavy travel restrictions by Chinese authorities to prevent the spread of 2019-nCoV.

At this time, it is unclear how easily this virus spreads from person to person.

Public health risk is continually reassessed as new information becomes available.

4. Is there a vaccine to protect against this virus?

No, there is currently no vaccine to protect against 2019 novel coronavirus infection.

5. Will this year’s flu vaccine protect me from this virus?

No, the flu vaccine does not protect against coronaviruses.

6. What is the treatment for coronavirus?

For now, there is no specific treatments for most people with coronavirus infection. Most people with common coronavirus illness will recover on their own. At this time, there is no vaccine for coronavirus. Your health care provider may recommend steps you can take to relieve symptoms.

Consult your health care provider as soon as possible if:

  • you are concerned about your symptoms or
  • you have a travel history to a region where severe coronaviruses are known to occur

The sooner you get treatment, the better your chances are for recovery.

7. How does coronavirus spread?

Human coronaviruses cause infections of the nose, throat and lungs. They are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets that are spread when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

8. What is the incubation period of the virus?

Current information indicates that symptoms may present themselves up to 14 days after exposure to the virus

9. How can I protect myself from getting this virus?

You can stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections by:

  • washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
  • avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands;
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick;
  • coughing or sneezing into your sleeve and not your hands; and
  • staying home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.

10. Where can I find the most up-to-date information about this coronavirus?

For the latest and most up-to-date information, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s webpage on the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV).  You can also follow Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, on Twitter at @CPHO_Canada.

Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notice for China on travel.gc.ca.

11. Can the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) be transmitted when a person is not showing symptoms?

This question is under investigation at this time. Studies to answer this question are being conducted now.

While experts believe that spread from a person who is asymptomatic (not showing any symptoms) is possible, this is considered to be rare.

What we do know for certain is that the virus is most often being spread through close contact with a person who is showing symptoms (symptomatic cases).

So based on the latest available data, the main driver of the 2019-nCoV outbreak is symptomatic cases.

That means the primary focus for containing the novel coronavirus outbreak is to prevent exposure through direct and close contact.

The most effective way to control this type of spread is through good hygiene measures in community settings (handwashing, cough etiquette and staying home if sick) and strict infection prevention and control measures in health settings to prevent spread in hospital settings.

12. Is there a risk of contracting a novel coronavirus infection if I touch a surface that was potentially contaminated?

In general, coronaviruses have poor survivability on surfaces, and are generally thought to be spread by respiratory droplets left behind after someone coughs or sneezes.

For the novel coronavirus, researchers are actively investigating to learn more about the ways that the novel coronavirus is transmitted.

In the meantime, the best way to prevent respiratory and other illnesses is to:

avoid touching the eyes, nose and mouth;

consistently use good hand hygiene measures, which includes frequent handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;

maintain good respiratory etiquette, such as covering your mouth and nose with your arm or sleeve when coughing and sneezing, disposing of any used tissues as soon as possible, and following with handwashing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers where soap and water are not available;

regularly clean and disinfect surfaces that people touch frequently such as toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach (one part bleach to nine parts water).

Travellers

13. I am planning travel to China, what is the current advice?

The Government of Canada is continuing to recommend that Canadians avoid non-essential travel to China and avoid all travel to Hubei province.

Canadians travelling abroad are encouraged to consult the Travel Health Notice for China on travel.gc.ca for more information.

Always consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic at least 6 weeks before you travel.

When travelling to places near Hubei province, China:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available
  • it is a good idea to always keep some with you when you travel
  • eat and drink safely abroad by staying away from raw or undercooked food and meat
  • avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets and areas where animals may be slaughtered
  • avoid close contact with people who may be sick, especially if they have difficulty breathing or have a fever or cough
  • avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), including pigs, chickens, ducks and wild birds, and items contaminated with their body fluids

14. I am a returning traveler from the Hubei province in China, what do I need to do?

If you have travelled to Hubei province in the last 14 days, limit your contact with others for a total of 14 days from the date that you left Hubei. This means self-isolate and stay at home. In addition, contact the local public health authority in your province or territory within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.

All travellers from mainland China are advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and to contact the local public health authority in their province or territory if they feel sick.

Even if you have not been to mainland China, should a fever, cough, difficulty breathing or any other symptom arise within 14 days after returning to Canada, seek medical attention immediately. Inform your health care provider or local health authority about symptoms and travel history.

During your return to Canada

If you develop symptoms of coronavirus before you are scheduled to leave, do not get on board any form of public transportation. Seek medical attention.

If you experience symptoms of 2019-nCoV during a flight, tell the flight attendant before you land or the border services officer as you enter the country. They will notify a quarantine officer who will assess your symptoms.

If you do not have symptoms but believe you were exposed to a source of 2019-nCoV, report this information to a Canada border services agent on arrival in Canada. This is required under the Quarantine Act. The Canada border services agent will provide instructions for you to follow.

We have put messaging on arrivals screens at international airports that will help guide travellers who have travelled to the province of Hubei, China. The screens tell travellers to inform a border services officer if they are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

In addition, pamphlets with additional information on what symptoms to identify and how to contact local health authorities will be provided to travellers.

During the 14 days after your return

If you develop symptoms of 2019-nCoV, call your appropriate public health authority immediately.

Describe your symptoms and document your travel history. Your health care professional or health authority will provide instructions for you to follow, including appropriate arrangements for your medical assessment.

If you are not already isolated, self-quarantine yourself in your home. Help reduce the spread of the virus.

15. Why are travelers returning from Hubei being asked to limit contact with others for 14 days following their arrival in Canada?

As we receive the latest data and science on novel coronavirus, health authorities across Canada are recommending that travellers who have been in Hubei limit their social contact for a total of 14 days from the date they left Hubei province.  In addition, contact the local public health authority in your province or territory within 24 hours of arriving in Canada.

This supports the global public health objective to contain the outbreak in China and prevent further spread to Canada.

16. I have winter travel plans (not to Asia); how can I reduce my risk of infection?

No matter where Canadians plan to travel, the Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that they consult travel.gc.ca, which is the Government of Canada’s official source of destination‑specific travel information. It provides important advice to help travellers make informed decisions and travel safely while abroad.

Canadians should always tell their health care providers about their travel if they become ill after returning to Canada.

17. I am a Canadian travelling abroad and I am experiencing symptoms. What should I do?

Many Canadians become ill and require medical assistance when they are outside Canada. If you get sick when you are travelling, here’s how to get help:

  • Most major tourist hotels have in-house doctors who can provide medical care. Hotels can also arrange appointments with local physicians.
  • If you have travel insurance, contact the local number you may have been given or the assistance centre in Canada, and ask for a referral.
  • If you need urgent care, the best option is often the nearest hospital. In some countries, ambulances may not be common. Use whatever form of transportation you have to get to a hospital.
  • If you have a medical emergency while abroad, consular officials at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate can help.
  • Find out more on what to do if you experience sickness or an injury while travelling abroad.

18. The Travel Health Notice says it is a Level 3. What does that mean?

A Level 3 signifies that it is recommended that Canadian travellers avoid non-essential travel in order to protect the health of Canadian travellers and the Canadian public.

The notice outlines specific precautions to take when visiting the region and what to do if you become ill during or after travel.

A notice at this level is often issued during a large-scale outbreak in a large geographic area, or if there is increased risk to the traveller and an increased risk of spreading disease to other groups including the Canadian public.

Learn more about the different risk levels associated with travel health notices.

Government of Canada actions

19. What actions are being taken at Canadian airports and borders to stop the virus from entering Canada?

New measures have been implemented at the 10 Canadian airports. Measures help to:

identify any travellers returning to Canada who may be ill

raise awareness among travellers about what they should do if they become sick

Any travellers coming to Canada who may have been in the province of Hubei would typically enter Canada through 1 of 3 international airports: Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal.

Travellers going through these airports will see additional signage in French, English and Simplified Chinese, asking them to alert a border services officer should they have any flu-like symptoms.

Travellers will need to respond to a screening question that has been added to electronic kiosks for all international travellers at these airports. This question is available in 15 different languages.

Travellers who do not show signs or symptoms of illness will receive a handout advising them to follow up with their health care provider and provide:

  • their symptoms
  • their travel history
  • any high-risk exposure history (such as contact with animals or close contact with a sick person) if they develop symptoms

These measures complement routine traveller screening procedures already in place to prepare for, detect and respond to the spread of serious infectious diseases into and within Canada.

20. In which ten airports have the additional screening measures been implemented?

Additional screening measures were put in place at the Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal international airports on January 22, 2020. As of February 1, 2020, the additional measures are also in place at the following airports:

  • Calgary International Airport
  • Edmonton International Airport
  • Winnipeg Richardson International Airport
  • Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
  • Ottawa International Airport
  • Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport
  • Halifax Stanfield International Airport

21. Will Canada close its borders or start banning flight from China?

No. The Government of Canada and the provinces and territories have multiple systems in place to prepare for, detect and respond to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in Canada.

We are also aware that China has taken extraordinary measures including conducting exit screenings, and have closed all the flights and transportation from Wuhan and some other affected cities. The World Health Organization (WHO) has been engaged and is actively monitoring the situation. With the information currently available for the novel coronavirus, WHO advises that measures to limit the risk of exportation or importation of the disease should be implemented, without unnecessary restrictions of intern