On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to be a pandemic. The first case of COVID-19 in Canada was confirmed at the end of January and public health officials have been responding to the rapidly changing situation ever since. Here is a primer on where you can find reliable, up-to-date information on coronavirus in Canada.

Where can I find up-to-date information on coronavirus (COVID-19) in Canada? 

For the latest information on coronavirus in Canada – how to prepare, what to do if you become ill, how Canada is responding to the pandemic, etc. – go to canada.ca/coronavirus or call 1-833-784-4397. If you’re on Twitter, you can also follow @GovHealthCan for updates. The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Canada is updated twice daily here. Find phone numbers for public health authorities in every province and territory here.

Should I cancel my travel plans?

As of March 14, the government of Canada has said to avoid all non-essential travel outside of Canada, including travel on cruise ships. Find the most recent travel advisory information here.

What is self-isolation?

Self-isolation is also known as voluntary home quarantine. The current recommendation is for all travellers returning to Canada to self-isolate for 14 days, no matter which countries they are returning from. For instructions on how to isolate at home, including how to limit contact with others and the supplies you should have while isolating, go here.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing measures are approaches taken to minimize close contact with others in the community, like avoiding crowded places and non-essential gatherings. See tweets from Dr. Theresa Tam, chief public health officer of Canada, on what social distancing looks like in practice, below.

How do I properly wash my hands?

Good question. You’ll need to wet hands with warm water, lather up with soap for at least 20 seconds – that’s about the length of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice – and scrub between your fingers, your palms and the backs of each hand and under nails. Don’t forget your thumbs. Dry your hands with a paper towel and use it to turn off the tap.

What does it mean to “flatten the curve”?

Flattening the curve refers to slowing the spread of COVID-19 to reduce the strain on the health care system. Watch a 30-second video from CBC explaining this in further detail.