Coronavirus: All Canadians evacuated from epicentre Wuhan will be placed in quarantine

Brenda Watkins
February 6, 2020

The Canadians were scheduled to fly out of China on a government-chartered plane early Thursday morning local time, but Francois-Philippe Champagne says crosswinds closed the narrow window of time that China has allowed for worldwide evacuations out of the country.

Three of Canada's four confirmed cases are in Ontario, and Ontario's chief medical officer of health, Dr. David Williams, said those patients are all at home and doing well.

Almost 500 people have died and tens of thousands have been infected, the vast majority in China but increasingly outside the country as well, since the outbreak in Wuhan was first reported to the World Health Organization in December.

Hajdu said, at this point, there is no indication any of the Canadians in Wuhan are showing any symptoms. "The message to Canadians is: listen, should you not have to be in China, it would be best to come back on a commercial flight".

All Canadians boarding the flight in China will be undergoing a medical exit screening by Chinese authorities before being allowed in the airport.

Mr. Trudeau said the Chinese government provided Canada with a "narrow window" for the flight to enter Chinese airspace that is otherwise closed and weather conditions prevented the plane from taking off, delaying the departure by a day.

The airplane will now leave Thursday night local time, 21 hours later than anticipated.

Hajdu instead suggested those countries were at an advantage because they had diplomatic missions or large business interests in Wuhan.

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"We're hoping to have these families back on Friday". Champagne said any Canadian headed to the airport should keep going.

There may be room for additional passengers who arrive in Canada from Wuhan at the motel on CFB Trenton where the first round of evacuees will be placed in mandatory quarantine, Maj.

A policeman uses a digital thermometer to take a driver's temperature at a checkpoint at a highway toll gate in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province, Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020.

The Defence Department says all Canadian Armed Forces members will be issued protective equipment to guard against possible infection, and will be monitored themselves for signs of the virus.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that more people have asked to be on the evacuation flight than the aircraft can carry, and that the government has secured a second plane to deploy if necessary.

Hajdu insisted the risk of the disease to Canadians remained low.

This week Canada asked China to let parents and primary caregivers accompany Canadian children out of Wuhan, even if they are not Canadians themselves.

"We're trying to get more information about the situation right now, but we're very much engaged", Trudeau said Wednesday.

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