Man ‘dies from COVID-19’ hours after flying from Nigeria into Canada

FILE PHOTO: Workers wearing protective gear remove bodies of people who have died from COVID-19 from a New Jersey nursing home morgue. Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

A traveller passes a YYZ airport code sign in the international arrival lounge amid a growing global number of coronavirus cases at Pearson Airport in Toronto, March 13, 2020. PHOTO BY CHRIS HELGREN /Reuters

Despite rules requiring Canada-bound passengers to test negative for COVID-19, a man east of the city reportedly died from the virus Wednesday morning just hours after arriving from Nigeria

Report said just after 6:30 a.m., Durham paramedics were dispatched to a home on Doug Walton Lane in Newcastle for a male complaining of shortness of breath and loss of taste.

The call was upgraded after the 47-year-old lost vital signs.

Paramedics were told he had arrived in Canada from Nigeria, Africa, the previous day, and told 911 he believed he had COVID-19, the TorontoSun has learned.

That information was corroborated by sources, who told the Sun the man arrived in Toronto on a Delta Airlines flight from Detroit Tuesday morning. He got on a connecting Toronto-bound flight after flying from Lagos, Nigeria, to Atlanta.

Sources said the man apparently took a COVID-19 test in Nigeria, but hadn’t received the results before departing.

The man, a married father of two, was pronounced dead at the scene and the Canadian Border Services Agency was notified, sources said.

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Durham Public Health spokesperson Glendene Collins confirmed two EMS crews were dispatched to the home on Wednesday.

“Both crews were in full PPE while on scene,” she said, adding paramedics transported no patients from the home.

Collins declined to comment further, citing provincial privacy rules.

Wednesday’s death comes nearly two weeks after Transport Canada made negative COVID-19 tests mandatory for anybody boarding a plane into Canada — a rule that appears to not be having much of an impact on flights carrying COVID-19 infected passengers.

As of Wednesday, Health Canada reported 139 COVID-19 infected flights since Jan. 7, including those from Port-au-Prince.

Transport Canada wasn’t able to provide comment on how a passenger could board a Canada-bound flight without a negative COVID-19 test.

— With files from Joe Warmington