MONTREAL -- The international spread of COVID-19 has prompted Quebec health officials to begin observing more travellers for possible symptoms of the disease.

Tuesday, officials added South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Italy and Iran to a watch-list of countries that previously only included China and Hong Kong.

If a person visits a Quebec hospital with symptoms that could be associated with COVID-19 and they have recently visited one of the listed countries, they will be tested, a spokesperson for the health ministry said.

The list of countries is likely to increase the number of people tested for the virus in Quebec.

As of Tuesday, the health ministry was monitoring seven possible cases in Quebec. Fifty-two people have undergone testing since the start of the outbreak; all of which have come back negative.

There have been 11 positive cases of COVID-19 in Canada.  


According to the Quebec health department, symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, coughing and difficulty breathing.

They can present in a mild manner, similar to a cold, or more severely, similar to symptoms associated with pneumonia and respiratory or kidney failure.

People most at risk of complications are those with a weakened immune system or chronic disease and the elderly.

All Quebecers who have returned from Hubei province in China are asked to self-isolate and monitor themselves for 14 days after leaving the province.

In addition, they are requested to call Info-Santé at 811 to alert public health authorities within 24 hours of their return.