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Think about coronavirus outbreak when planning for spring break: Champagne

Minister of Foreign Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne speaks to reporters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canadians should think carefully about where they and their families are planning to travel for spring break in the light of the novel coronavirus spreading overseas. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says Canadians should think carefully about where they and their families are planning to travel for spring break in the light of the novel coronavirus spreading overseas.

There has been a rash of new cases appearing in places like Italy and Iran over the past week, and officials fear the virus could spread undetected in countries without the capacity to monitor people for signs of infection.

Champagne suggests people examine the online travel advisories posted by Global Affairs Canada before leaving for their vacations, but noted the federal government can’t predict whether the coronavirus will spread to their travel destination while they are away from home.

WATCH: Canadians advised to check for coronavirus cases before planning overseas trips

He says all the government can do is make the latest information available to the public and let people make up their own minds.

He says it’s also important for Canadians to register with Global Affairs Canada whenever they leave the country, so that officials can contact them easily if an emergency develops while they are away.

Around 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with the disease known as COVID-19, with the World Health Organization reporting cases in 37 countries outside China.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 26, 2020.

— with files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press