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Cablegate: Wgsars: Canada-Wide Status Report April 25

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 001167

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WGSARS, OES/PCI, WHA/CAN (RUNNING)

HHS FOR OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY, OFFICE OF
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (STEIGER)

CDC for Global Health Office (Cox)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO AMED CA SARS
SUBJECT: WGSARS: Canada-wide Status Report April 25
(Number 7)

Ref. (A) Ottawa 1155 (SARS Canada-wide Report #6)

(B) Toronto 1210(Ontario SARS Update #17)

-------
Summary
-------

1. Health Canada provides domestic travel advisory with
the message: "It's safe to come to Toronto"; federal
cabinet to meet in Toronto on April 29 to lead by
example. Total cases in Ontario continue to drop, but
there has been an increase in suspect cases in British
Columbia. End summary.

-------------------------
Domestic Travel Advisory
------------------------

2. In an unprecedented step, on April 25, Health Canada
issued a domestic travel advisory regarding SARS and
Toronto. The text reads "Health Canada advises
Canadians that travel to any destination in Canada is
safe and may be undertaken in the same manner as one
usually would with respect to transport, accommodation,
meals, entertainment, business and family engagements,
whether arriving from overseas or traveling
domestically".

3. Health Canada does not normally issue travel advice
with respect to domestic travel. Canadian Health
authorities believe, however, that this domestic travel
advice will provide Canadians with the most accurate
assessment of the Canadian SARS situation. The Travel
Advice can be accessed at:

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/pphb-dgspsp/tmp-
pmv/2003/sarsdomestic_e.html

4. For the first time since the WHO Travel Advisory was
released, Prime Minister Chrtien made remarks on SARS.
In his April 25 remarks in Ottawa at a Genome Science
exposition, Chrtien noted that Canada is working in
close partnership with the United States Centers for
Disease Control and that Canada is very appreciative of
the CDC effort.

5. He noted too, the fact that the GoC believes that
the World Health Organization came to the wrong
conclusion and that Toronto is a safe city. Chretien
announced a "marketing campaign for Toronto and Ontario
and indeed all of Canada" to demonstrate there is no
threat. The GoC will contribute C$10 million to the
effort.

6. Moreover, the federal cabinet will meet in Toronto
on April 29 to demonstrate in a very public way the GoC
commitment to not let fears about SARS prevail. The PM
will also stay Monday night at a Toronto hotel.

------------
SARS Figures
------------

7. As of 13:00 Eastern Daylight Saving Time, April 24,
2003 Health Canada has received reports of 327 probable
or suspect cases of severe acute respiratory syndrome
(SARS) in Canada (A net increase Canada-wide of 1 case
since our Report #6). There have been 16 deaths
attributed to SARS linked to the Toronto nexus. To
date, transmission has been limited to specific
transmission settings such as households, hospitals and
specific community settings. The details of the cases
to date are as follows:

-- Ontario is reporting 136 probable and 121 suspect
cases. This is a decrease of 1 suspect case since
Report #6. (See Toronto reporting for greater detail.)

-- British Columbia is reporting 4 probable and 54
suspect cases. This is an increase of 7 suspect cases
since Report #6. See paragraph 4.

-- New Brunswick is reporting 2 suspect cases. (No
change.)

-- Saskatchewan is reporting 1 suspect case. (No
change.)

-- Alberta is reporting 5 suspect cases. (No change)
-- Prince Edward Island is reporting 4 suspect cases.
(No change.)

8. The new suspect cases in British Columbia (BC) were
passengers on the flight from New Delhi via Taipei that
arrived in Vancouver on April 19. In an April 24 press
release Dr. Monika Naus of the BC Centre for Disease
Control noted that "There are many causes for fever
and cough in a returning traveler, India is not
considered a SARS-affected area by the World Health
Organization and there was only a brief stopover in
Taipei. The risk may be low that these individuals have
SARS, but we don't want to take any chances. If there
are other passengers who were on this flight who are
ill, we want to know about it."

9. In the press release Naus states "We have been
notified of 10 people in eight different families who
have reported these symptoms. Two have been
hospitalized (Ref A) but none have required ICU care or
assistance to breathe." "We are asking that any other
passengers with flu-like illness who were on these
flights call ahead and notify their personal doctor.
Their doctor should then notify public health."

10. The BC Centre for Disease Control will be directly
contacting residents of B.C. who were on the China Air
flight. Passengers who may have gone on to other
provinces will be notified by that province.

Cellucci

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