The Victoria General Hospital, which is experiencing an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is pictured in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Nov 2, 2020. (Photo: agencies)
OTTAWA - The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) said on Thursday that COVID-19 can be transmitted through small airborne droplets.
PHAC updated its virus transmission guidance on Tuesday, bringing them in line with the advice of the World Health Organization (WHO).
"SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads from an infected person to others through respiratory droplets and aerosols created when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, shouts, or talks," the updated guidance said.
"The droplets vary in size from large droplets that fall to the ground rapidly (within seconds or minutes) near the infected person, to smaller droplets, sometimes called aerosols, which linger in the air under some circumstances," it said.
"Infectious droplets or aerosols may come into direct contact with the mucous membranes of another person's nose, mouth or eyes, or they may be inhaled into their nose, mouth, airways and lungs," it said.
"The virus may also spread when a person touches another person or a surface or an object that has the virus on it, and then touches their mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands," added the updated guidance.
The updated guidance came as Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam urged Canadians to use three-layer masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"This is why we have been advising Canadians to try to avoid the three Cs - closed spaces with [poor] ventilation, crowded places with large numbers of people gathered and close contact situations where you can't maintain physical distancing," Theresa said at a press conference on Thursday.
"This pandemic is teaching us a lot about being flexible and adapting to new challenges," the official added.
The guidelines previously said the virus spreads only through breathing in respiratory droplets, touching contaminated surfaces and common greetings like handshakes and hugs.
As of Thursday afternoon, Canada reported a total of 250,913 cases of COVID-19 and 10,381 deaths, according to CTV.