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Calgary keeping an eye on coronavirus

Last Updated Jan 23, 2020 at 9:32 am MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) – Even with an outbreak across the Pacific Ocean, some Calgarians are looking at the coronavirus and how close to home it’s coming.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will decide Thursday whether to declare the outbreak in China a global emergency after 17 confirmed deaths.

The United States confirmed its first case Tuesday in Washington state, just north of Seattle.

Health officials in the state said the man was hospitalized on Sunday and the new respiratory virus diagnosis was confirmed on Monday.

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There is some concern among Calgarians about the virus spreading and coming into Canada on connecting flights.

In an email, the Calgary International Airport said “we are taking direction from the Public Health Agency of Canada and cooperating with Alberta Health Services to closely monitor the situation. Currently, our normal screening procedures are in place for arriving international guests as we do not have any direct flights from China.”

Provincial Health Minister Tyler Shandro said the risk to Albertans is low but an advisory has been sent to doctors. Shandro said his department will work closely with Alberta Health Services (AHS) to make sure they’re prepared to respond if needed.

CityNews spoke to two travel agencies including one that carries out tours in China. A spokesperson there said they haven’t seen anyone change bookings as of yet.

A second travel agency said they haven’t been affected by the coronavirus but added they don’t see a lot of interest to travel to China because of political tensions.