The coronavirus outbreak has already killed more people than SARS in 2003, and with quarantines, travel restrictions and other measures, governments around the world are mobilizing to save as many lives as possible. Here’s what you need to know

The coronavirus outbreak has already killed more people than SARS in 2003, and with quarantines, travel restrictions and other measures, governments around the world are mobilizing to save as many lives as possible. Here’s what you need to know

Paris, March 12: Travellers with protective face masks wait in a check-in line at Charles de Gaulle airport after a 30-day ban took effect on passenger travel from 26 European countries to the United States.
BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images
The latest
COVID-19 AROUND THE WORLD

  • U.S. President Donald Trump is trying to pin blame for the coronavirus on Europe by imposing a travel ban unilaterally and without consultation, European Union leaders said Thursday after the measures took effect at midnight. Mr. Trump, who had played down COVID-19s risk to Americans for weeks, imposed the ban on passenger travel to the United States from 26 countries, Britain not included. Canadas government says its consulting Washington before a decision about whether or not to follow suit.
  • Hours before Mr. Trumps announcement, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic for the first time, citing alarming inaction by national governments. Heres a primer on what the pandemic designation means in practice.
  • Italy, already under a nationwide lockdown to slow down the coronavirus, closed all shops except for pharmacies and grocery stores on Wednesday after a surge of 2,300 new infections in 24 hours. Canadian legal and public-health experts say its unlikely Canada could see Italian-style quarantines, The Globe and Mails Kristy Kirkup reports.

COVID-19 IN CANADA

  • The Juno Awards ceremony in Saskatoon and Torontos St. Patricks Day parade are cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, organizers for the two Sunday events said Thursday as an increasing number of artistic, sporting and cultural events closed down for fear of spreading the virus.
  • Manitoba announced its first coronavirus case Thursday, a woman who had travelled to the Philippines and was isolated at home. The news came after more alarming firsts in the Canadian spread of COVID-19: The national infection toll surpassing 100 cases (117 as of midday Thursday); the first infected minor, a child in Calgary; and the first case in Atlantic Canada, a New Brunswick woman between 50 and 60 years old.
  • Ontario is opening a first wave of dedicated COVID-19 assessment centres in coming days, with facilities in the Greater Toronto Area and Ottawa. Earlier this week, Ontario also revised its safety policies for front-line workers to focus on droplet precautions like surgical masks and eye guards, which it deemed more effective at stopping the virus than measures designed for airborne infection.

WHAT COVID-19 MEANS FOR YOU

  • Are you feeling unwell? If youve got symptoms associated with COVID-19 (dry cough, fever and aches), health officials say you should self-isolate and call your doctor or health authority. Heres the contact information and other expert advice that can help, a primer on what seniors can do to stay safe and tips for parents about how to care for sick or quarantined children.
  • Are you prepared? If youre getting ready for a self-quarantine situation, here are pointers from dietitian Leslie Beck about good foods to buy, and a primer on what cleaning products and methods are most likely to remove the virus from contaminated surfaces. Whether youre sick or not, frequent hand-washing with soap or hand sanitizer is definitely a good idea.
  • Are you travelling? With March Break coming up, Canadian families face tough decisions about whether to keep or cancel their travel plans. Heres what health professionals recommend about how to weigh travel risks, and a guide to the safety measures that some airports, hotels and tour companies are offering. If you do cancel, be aware that some companies have revised their cancellation insurance policies to exclude the coronavirus, which they say is no longer an unforeseeable risk.

What does this virus do?
The new illness that emerged last December in China officially called COVID-19, previously known as 2019-nCoV is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Corona means crown or halo in Latin, describing the viruses typical shape when seen under an electron microscope. The common cold is a type of coronaviral illness, but COVID-19s symptoms (dry coughing, fever and muscle pain) resemble the more serious and dangerous types, such as SARS and MERS. COVID-19s mortality rate is about 3.4 per cent, according to the World Health Organizations estimates.
If you start showing the symptoms of COVID-19, contact your local health authority or family doctor and do as they advise. Check The Globe and Mails guide compiling health officials advice for people who are travelling or have questions about the virus.
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS
INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal contamination
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS?
Headache
Dry cough
Fever
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal contamination
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF THE VIRUS?
Headache
Dry cough
Fever
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
HOW DOES CORONAVIRUS INFECT A PERSON?
Human coronaviruses most commonly spread from an infected person to others through:
The air by coughing and sneezing
Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
Touching the eyes, nose or mouth after touching an infected surface
Rarely, fecal
contamination
COMMON SIGNS OF INFECTION
Headache
In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death
Dry cough
Fever
SOME FACTS ABOUT THE VIRUS
Belongs to large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from common cold to more severe diseases such as MERS and SARS
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people
There are no specific treatments for coronaviruses, but symptoms can be treated
MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Health Canada, WHO
Where has it spread?
Most of Canadas COVID-19 cases are in B.C., Ontario and Alberta, with some in Quebec, Manitoba and New Brunswick. The first report of community spread came on March 5, when B.C. health officials announced the diagnosis of a woman in her 50s who hadnt travelled abroad or had contact with any other known coronavirus patients. That case was later traced to an outbreak at a long-term care facility for seniors in North Vancouver, where Canadas first coronavirus casualty, an elderly man, died on March 8. Ontario also saw community spread for the first time after an international mining conference in Toronto.
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Dozens more Canadians have fallen sick overseas, including those who were on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the Japanese coast, which was put under a quarantine in February that only made the spread of the disease worse. Canadians infected aboard the ship remained in Japan for treatment, while those who were cleared were flown back to Canada and quarantined at the Nav Centre in Cornwall, Ont. Another airlift was organized for passengers on the Grand Princess cruise ship, which was barred from docking in California for nearly a week in March.
1 to 910 to 99101 to 1000Over 1000 cases
Que.
Ont.
Alta.
B.C.
Sask.
Man.
Nunavut
N.W.T.
Yukon
N.B.
N.S.
P.E.I.
Nfld.
1 to 910 to 99101 to 1000Over 1000 cases
What Canada has done
Ottawa, Jan. 26: Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, right, speaks at a press conference as Health Minister Patty Hadju listens.
Justin Tang/The Canadian Press
In the hospitals: Front-line health workers have been stepping up preparations for a possible pandemic since February, making sure they have the supplies and resources they need for any surges in demand. Ontario also revised its safety protocols for health-care staff as new evidence emerged about the viruss spread: They are now focusing on droplet precautions like surgical masks, gowns and gloves, and not the less-effective safeguards against airborne transmission they had been using before.
In Parliament: The Trudeau government announced a $1.1-billion package to prevent the spread and ease the economic pain of COVID-19. That includes increased provincial health funding, $275-million for vaccine development and medical research, the waiver of the one-week employment insurance waiting period and an adjustment to the EI work-share program for companies that have cut hours.
In the workplace: An increasing number of Canadian technology companies have announced work-from-home measures. Its also taken a noticeable toll on the food and beverage industry: Bulk Barn,Tim Hortons,Second Cup and Starbucks have suspended reusable container programs.
In the home: Health Minister Patty Hajdu has said Canadians can prepare by making sure theyve got enough groceries and prescription drugs to stay home for a while if needed, and by following health officials recommendations about proper hygiene.
Coronavirus and Canadians: More reading
How the cruise ship coronavirus quarantine backfired
How a Toronto hospital is staying ahead of public health officials in the coronavirus fight
The hot spots: From Wuhan to Milan
In some of the worst-affected countries, quarantines of historic scale and severity have restricted travel, work and public assembly for millions of people. But in other jurisdictions, governments are under fire for the perceived slowness of their response. Heres what some countries have been doing.
China
Wuhan, March 9: Medical staff celebrate after all patients were discharged from a temporary COVID-19 hospital.
AFP via Getty Images
Last December, authorities in Hubei province initially dismissed warnings of a new virus, and even punished the Wuhan ophthalmologist who tried to sound the alarm. But within weeks, when the outbreak was spreading fast, China put millions of people in Wuhan and its environs under near-total quarantine, just as the Lunar New Year travel season was getting under way. Chinese lawmakers also banned the trade and consumption of wild animal meat, the suspected source of the virus. As the quarantines brought Chinas economy to a standstill, local governments faced conflicting demands to bring people back to work but still prevent the spread of COVID-19. Efforts to restart manufacturing in late February brought only modest and partial results.
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The Globe in China: Read the latest reports from Nathan VanderKlippe
Rome, March 8: The Colosseum, closed after the government’s new prevention measures on public gatherings, is reflected in a puddle where a face mask lies.
Alfredo Falcone/LaPresse via AP
Italy
COVID-19 hit northern Italys Lombardy region fast and hard in February after hospital staff failed to isolate a super-carrier who visited them several times. Soon, Italy had hundreds of cases, then thousands, and many countries across Europe and Africa traced their first COVID-19 cases back to the Italian epidemic. After local quarantines and the closing of schools and universities failed to stop the viruss spread, by early March, the Italian government put Lombardy under a total lockdown measures that were soon extended nationwide, affecting 62 million Italians. The quarantine requires most Italians to stay home, prohibits public assembly and non-essential travel and closes pools, theatres and sporting events. Additional measures announced on March 11 also closed all stores except groceries and pharmacies.
The Globe in Italy: Read the latest reports from Eric Reguly
Tehran, March 6: A firefighter disinfects the shrine of Saint Saleh to help prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
Ebrahim Noroozi/The Associated Press
Iran
Little was officially known about COVID-19s devastating arrival in Iran until late February, when Canadian officials who had widened their search for travellers reporting symptoms began finding many cases that originated there. Iranian officials were reporting a much higher ratio of deaths to infections, suggesting their official infection tolls were far lower than they really were. As other Middle Eastern countries began discovering their first cases, they cancelled travel and closed their borders with Iran, endangering an economy already hit hard by U.S. and allied sanctions over its nuclear program.
Atlanta, March 6: U.S. President Donald Trump holds a photograph of coronavirus as Dr. Steve Monroe, right, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention speaks to members of the press at the agency’s headquarters.
Hyosub Shin/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP
United States
Through February and early March, U.S. President Donald Trump, who is up for re-election later this year, generally told Americans that they were not at great risk from COVID-19 and economic activities should go on as normal. He also contradicted public health officials on everything from the viruss fatality rate to the risks posed by workers who come in while sick. Meanwhile, U.S. health officials performed far fewer tests than other jurisdictions, including Canada, fuelling criticism that the American private health-care system was not ready for the shocks of a pandemic illness. Under mounting pressure to act, Mr. Trump signed a multibillion-dollar package of funding to state and local governments, and on March 11, he restricted passenger travel from 26 European countries to the United States.
SARS: Whats similar, whats different
Toronto, 2003: A man adjusts his protective mask as he leaves the SARS Clinic at the Women’s College Hospital.
Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press
The COVID-19 outbreak has brought back unpleasant memories of SARS, a coronavirus that also originated in China and killed dozens people in Canada. But while the viruses may be similar, and while COVID-19 may have killed more people overall than SARS did, many of the conditions that made SARS such a threat in this country are less serious now.
How the viruses differ: COVID-19s mortality rate (3.4 per cent) is lower than that of SARS (about 10 per cent), but it also seems to spread more easily. One possible reason for this is that unlike SARS, whose carriers generally knew they were sick, the new coronavirus may be transmissible before symptoms develop, according to one non-peer-reviewed analysis by Canadian and international scientists. On average, it takes about five days for people infected with COVID-19 to show symptoms, according to a U.S.-based teams estimates published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. SARSs incubation period was much longer, about 10 days.
The impact of SARS: After its emergence from Guangdong province, SARS spread to 8,098 people worldwide and killed 774, according to the U.S. CDCs estimates. Thats a milestone that COVID-19 quickly surpassed even before it had widely spread beyond China. Canada was country hardest-hit by SARS outside of Asia: Over all, 44 people were killed in Canada, and 438 Canadians were diagnosed with probable and suspected SARS. It led to billions of dollars in economic losses as visitors avoided Toronto during what came to be known as the Spring of Fear.
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Better preparedness: Canadian health officials learned a lot from SARS about early detection of infectious diseases, and many have expressed confidence that they are better prepared this time. B.C. Provincial Health Officer Bonnie Henry, for instance, noted before the first Canadian case appeared that officials already developed a test for the new coronavirus and had some idea of how it progressed, which they did not when SARS first arrived in 2003.
What can I do?
As COVID-19 spreads, The Globe and Mail has been compiling experts recommendations for Canadians about how to travel safely, maintain proper hygiene and be prepared for disruptive effects on their families and daily lives.
How do I care for my children during a new coronavirus outbreak?
How should I talk to my children about the coronavirus?
How long does the coronavirus live on surfaces? Does bleach clean it off? Your cleaning questions answered
What should you consider before travelling, or staying put?
What should older people and snowbirds do to protect themselves?
Eight dos and donts to protect your finances in these uncertain times
More reading
Cancellations and business impact
From James Bond to bust: Why the coronavirus might kill the movie business as we know it
Canadian universities plan for video lectures, remote exams if coronavirus epidemic worsens
Coronavirus disrupting business travel as companies restrict trips and cancel conferences
Coronavirus forces small-scale Amazon sellers to look for manufacturers outside China
On the science
Ivan Semeniuk explains: New coronavirus tests scientists ability to tangle with an evolutionary trickster
Race is on as coalition sets tight timeline for coronavirus vaccine
A brief history of plague panic, from the 1600s to todays coronavirus crisis
Commentary and analysis
André Picard: B.C.’s Bonnie Henry is a calming voice in a sea of coronavirus madness
Adrian Lee: For Chinese-Canadians like me, coronavirus is just the latest strain of infectious fear weve faced
Robyn Urback: No need to panic with President Doctor Trump in control
J. Michael Cole: The coronavirus epidemic will not be Chinas Chernobyl moment
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Compiled by Globe staff
With reports from Carly Weeks, Kelly Grant, Wency Leung, Ivan Semeniuk, Andrea Woo, Nathan VanderKlippe, Eric Reguly, Paul Waldie, The Associated Press, Reuters and The Canadian Press

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