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HomeBusinessCOVID Exclusive: Embassy says Chinese student hospitalized for coronavirus after Ottawa karaoke party outbreak

COVID Exclusive: Embassy says Chinese student hospitalized for coronavirus after Ottawa karaoke party outbreak


Bob Mackin

Nine Chinese students in Ottawa tested positive for coronavirus after a birthday party at a karaoke bar and their government is publicly chastising them, without naming names.

According to the Chinese Embassy, a dozen Chinese students “relaxed their vigilance” and partied at the end of September without masks or social distance. They caused a “mass infection” of the virus that originated in Wuhan, China last year.

WHO’s Dr. Tedros and Xi Jinping

“Nine of them were diagnosed and one was admitted to the intensive care unit (now discharged),” reads the embassy’s Oct. 10 statement, which translated from Chinese. “This not only brings serious risks to ourselves and public health and safety, but also makes domestic relatives and friends worried and distressing. It also sounds a wake-up call to all my overseas students and Chinese citizens in Canada.”

The statement did not indicate the ages of the students, the names of the institutions where they are studying or why they were in Canada. The Chinese government arranged flights for many students to return to China last spring and into the summer. The Canadian government announced early this month that it would conditionally allow foreign students to return to Canada beginning Oct. 20.

On Oct. 9, Ottawa’s public health department reported 5,373 confirmed cases, 297 deaths, 847 active, 39 hospitalized and nine patients in intensive care. Ottawa’s deputy chief medical officer said in a prepared statement that the capital is “experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 infection unlike what we saw in the spring.”

“Both individuals testing positive and hospitalizations have doubled since the week of Sept. 13 and this is contributing to a crisis where, locally, we are also seeing more outbreaks and more deaths,” said Dr. Brent Moloughney.

Ottawa Public Health has not immediately responded for comment.

On Oct. 9, Ontario Premier Doug Ford imposed a 28-day shutdown of dining in restaurants and bars and closed movie theatres, casinos and gyms in Ottawa, Toronto and Peel Region. On the same day, federal officials announced a single-day, nationwide record of 2,554 new cases.

“All trends are going in the wrong direction,” Ford told reporters. 

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