Monday, 24 February, 2020

First Canadian coronavirus evacuees land in Ontario; show no signs of illness

Two groups of Canadians come home after two evacuation from Wuhan on paNOW | Prince Albert Saskatchewan Canadian family gets mixed messages on if they can come back together from Wuhan
Marta Robbins | 08 February, 2020, 01:52

"There was a lot of frustration, chaos, people got confused, people did not know what to do", the dual Chinese-Canadian national told Reuters in one of several videos he filmed as he laboured his way towards Wuhan's airport.

The Canadians were scheduled to fly out of China on a government-chartered plane early Thursday morning local time, but Francois-Philippe Champagne said crosswinds kept the plane from leaving Hanoi, Vietnam, where it and its crew have been waiting.

The country has told citizens not to travel to Hubei province, and to avoid non-essential travel to the rest of China.

Champagne said they are working with allies to figure out how to get the remaining Canadians out of the area, but they may also send a second plane.

The letter says they will be screened for any signs of the virus and those with symptoms will not be allowed to board the plane.


With these two flights, the government said about two-thirds of the Canadians looking to get out of the region would have left for Canada.

A plane carrying 176 passengers arrived Friday at Canadian Forces Base Trenton where they will spend 14 days in isolation to ensure they are not infected with the coronavirus.

One evacuee, Edward Wang, was promised a seat on the US plane along with his mother, also a Canadian citizen.

The couple is praying that, with recent news that the evacuation flight was delayed "due to circumstances beyond the control of the Government of Canada", they'll be able to come up with a solution in the nick of time.

Wuhan is the centre of the outbreak of the new coronavirus, which has sickened more than 28,000 and killed 563 in China.


In the wide-ranging interview the two also discussed Canada's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council; the latest on the investigation into Flight PS752 and compensation for Canadian families.

Champagne said that flight is scheduled to leave Wuhan, a city of 11 million people under quarantine, on February 10.

"As expected, we had a small number of no-shows at the airport, mostly related to individuals who changed their minds at the last minute", said Champagne.

More than 300 people have asked for Ottawa's help getting out of the city.

There are seven Canadians with confirmed cases of coronavirus docked on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is located in the port city of Yokohama just outside Tokyo.


"The Chinese authorities to my knowledge have not allowed any country to evacuate their people in the daytime because they're using the airspace in the daytime to bring food and medical supplies".

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