Since the beginning of January, reports of a newly identified strain of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Wuhan, China. Now, a total of six people in Quebec and B.C. are under observation by government health agencies, because they’ve recently visited at-risk regions of China. While they say the chance of the coronavirus in Canada remains low, Quebec is reportedly “staying vigilant.”

Quebec's public health director, Dr. Horacio Arruda, tells Global News that five of the people who are currently being monitored for the disease are in their province.

They are currently in isolation units in the hospital, both in Montreal and in Quebec City.

Their test results should be ready in the next few days, said Dr. Arruda, and they are all expected to test negative.

Another person in Quebec was also screened for the illness as a precaution but has since been confirmed as healthy.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said additional monitoring is taking place in Vancouver, where one person has also been tested for the new strain.

There are no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Canada at the moment, and it is still considered to be a low-risk area.

Referred to as a “novel coronavirus,” the strain has now made more than 500 people sick and 17 people have died, mostly around the Chinese city of Wuhan.

While the World Health Organization has yet to declare the illness as an international emergency, Quebec’s public health director said they’re not prepared to take any chances. 

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Dr. Arruda explained, "The risk is still considered low, but we will stay vigilant.”

"We think there is a possibility people come back with the disease here, in Canada or in Quebec, but we will catch it early and make sure the transmission is not sustained in the community," he said.

Canadian Government agencies have been putting several measures in place to keep the country safe, including the screening of travellers at arrival points, like Montreal’s Trudeau Airport.

Passengers are being screened to determine whether they have visited Wuhan, where the outbreak was first noticed.

Visitors flying into Canada from abroad are being encouraged to speak to a doctor if they are experiencing any flu-like symptoms.

The World Health Organization had a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the outbreak of the coronavirus, but have not yet declared a public health emergency.

The committee is expected to meet again Thursday.

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