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From the Comments is designed to highlight interesting and thoughtful contributions from our readers. Some comments have been edited for clarity. Everyone can read the comments but only subscribers will be able to contribute. Thank you to everyone furthering debate across our site.
“Presumably, we won’t be complacent this time around.”
Let’s hope. However, here’s the most recent statement by the Public Health Agency of Canada: “The risk to Canadians visiting Wuhan is assessed as low.” I don’t know, that seems a little complacent, don’t you think?
The United States and other countries are thermal-scanning arriving passengers for fever and yet we are relying on passengers self-identifying via a kiosk questionnaire. What could possibly go wrong? –Tamas78
Allowing discretionary travel to and from China at a time like this is essentially saying, “We will accept the risk of innocent Canadians being infected (and possibly killed) by recent travellers, because we place a greater value on the freedom to travel than on the lives of the Canadians who might suffer.”
I have never understood that kind of thinking. –Chad Chen
If 14 health-care workers who treated a single patient picked up this infection, that strongly suggests that the patient was a “superspreader,” similar to the superspreaders who very efficiently transmitted SARS.
If there are superspreaders in this case, then the risk of a very extensive and fast-moving pandemic is probably much higher. –KCS51
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How do we know how forthcoming China has been on this? –Leese1
As I recall it, with SARS, China was in full denial mode until the problem grew enough that denial was no longer possible.
With this virus, at least publicly, it looks like China started off the same way, but that changed pretty quickly. I can’t say the country is entirely open, but it seems to have taken this seriously enough to involve outside health professionals. That’s progress over SARS. –Rationalthought
I wasn't overly worried about SARS, and I am not going to be losing sleep over this outbreak either.
While 774 dead worldwide was a tragedy, roughly 33,000 die each year in Europe alone from antibiotic resistant infections. Yet few are panicking about the potentially lethal effects of a minor wound or some chicken that was improperly cooked. –WhistlingInTheDark
Unfortunately, sneeze or cough into your sleeve has been forgotten. It was a worthwhile campaign for all ages. –jangm
All it takes is one person to start an epidemic. A whole planeload of people can be contaminated or any public place like an airport or shopping mall. Quarantine is not very effective and it puts too many people at risk. Do not let anyone who has been travelling through this region into Canada now until the disease completely disappears. –Anne2301
Reliance on voluntary disclosure will not work because of the inconvenience to travellers. Meanwhile in Taiwan:
1. is “monitoring the temperatures of inbound travellers when they arrive at airports and seaports” and “additional medical workers have been posted at the nation’s international gateways to support the measure.”
2. “Travellers with a fever would then be asked about their travel history and be checked by a doctor if the situation warrants.”
3. “Those found to have pneumonia-like symptoms, such as shortness of breath and low blood-oxygen levels, and who have been in China in the previous 14 days, would be placed in compulsory quarantine.” –Richard Ottawa
China bans Canadian pork and beef without any hesitation when they had a “health concern.” We should ban Chinese visitors and flights until this is sorted out. –Candace248
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