Canada’s chief public health officer Theresa Tam has raised concerns over a woman who tested positive for coronavirus after recently returning from Iran.
"Any important cases linked to Iran could be an indicator that there is more widespread transmission than we know about," Tam said.
Iran only recently began reporting its first cases. On Friday, the Middle Eastern country confirmed a total of 18 patients with coronavirus and four deaths.
Tam said this is a reminder that the novel coronavirus is a global issue and that there is the possibility that the virus could be present in countries that may not have the capacity to detect or contain the virus.
The Canadian woman, in her 30, is the sixth case of novel coronavirus in British Columbia and the ninth for Canada overall.
According to Tam, there was no indication that the patient had been to Qom, the city where the virus was first detected in Iran. “So this leads to the need for further investigation for the officials on the ground," in British Columbia, she said.
Iran outbreak: The novel coronavirus has spread to several Iranian cities, including the capital Tehran, according to the Iranian health ministry.
“The spread of the coronavirus started in Qom and has reached other cities in the country like Tehran, Babol, Arak, Isfahan, Rasht and other cities due to people traveling. There is a possibility that it exists in all cities across the country,” Minnou Mohraz, member of the National Committee for Infectious diseases at the Ministry of Health, said Friday.
“It’s clear that new coronavirus has circulated in the country and probably the source of this illness was Chinese workers who work in the city of Qom and had traveled to China,” Mohraz added.