The World Health Organization removed Toronto from its SARS watch list yesterday, leaving Taiwan as the only place the organization says the virus has evaded full control.
Toronto received the all-clear from the World Health Organization after 20 days had passed without a new case of the respiratory illness, which has infected more than 8,400 people worldwide and killed more than 800 since it first emerged in southern China late last year.
"This is a great achievement for public health in what we hope is the final phase of the global emergency," said David Heymann, WHO executive director for communicable diseases.
Toronto was among the first areas affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, after the illness moved out of China in late February and spread around the world.
There have been 252 cases of SARS diagnosed in Canada and 38 deaths from the illness, according to the World Health Organization.
The outbreak's epicenter in Canada was Toronto, where more than 27,000 people were put in quarantine, according to news agency reports.
The organization posted a travel advisory for Toronto on April 23 and advised travelers to avoid all but essential travel to the city. The warning was lifted six days later but not before crushing the tourism industry and costing thousands of hotel and restaurant workers their jobs. Until yesterday, the city had remained on the WHO list of areas with recent local transmission.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada celebrated the news in Prague, where he was participating in Vancouver's bid for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
"It's over, so I hope that the people will return in great numbers to the great city of Toronto," Chretien was quoted as saying by news agencies.
Taiwan reported no new SARS cases yesterday for a 17th consecutive day, the island's Center for Disease Control said.