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Doctor on front lines of SARS outbreak says Canadian hospitals prepared for coronavirus

After two days of emergency committee meetings to decide whether to declare a public health emergency over a new coronavirus from China, the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that it’s too early.

The coronavirus, which emerged sometime in December 2019, has drawn comparison to the 2003 outbreak of SARS.

Dr. Michael Gardam, chief of staff at Humber River Hospital and an infection control specialist, dealt with the SARS outbreak.

The disease affected 26 countries and infected more than 8,000 individuals, according to the WHO.

With the coronavirus, 17 years later, more than 600 people have been infected, the majority of whom are from China.

At least 17 people have died as of last count.

Gardam told Global News that at this point, the risk the coronavirus presents to Canadians is “absolutely negligible.”

“If there’s any country in the world that’s as prepared as it’s going to be, it’s this one,” he said.

He believes that even with a WHO emergency declaration, there would be little to no impact on Canadian hospitals.

Coronavirus cases have already been reported in China, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan and the United States. There have been no confirmed cases in Canada so far.

But Gardam says if any cases are reported, hospitals in Canada will be ready.

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