In this photo released by the Indonesian Foreign Ministry, Indonesians who arrived from Wuhan, China, are sprayed with antiseptic at Hang Nadim Airport in Batam, Indonesia Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Indonesians evacuated from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the center of a deadly virus outbreak, were transported to a quarantine zone on a remote island at the edge of the South China Sea, shortly after landing on Batam, an island near Singapore on Sunday morning. (Indonesian Foreign Ministry via AP)

Canadian evacuees from China to be quarantined at Ontario military base

The number of Canadians who want to flee the Chinese province afflicted by the virus climbed to 325

Canadian evacuees from the Chinese province afflicted with the novel coronavirus will be quarantined for two weeks upon their arrival at an Ontario military base, the government announced Sunday night.

But Ottawa did not provide a timeline for when they’ll arrive from the locked-down city of Wuhan, saying it’s still awaiting final approval from Chinese authorities. Their plane will land at Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

“To protect the health and safety of Canadians — both those who are coming to and those already in Canada — the returning individuals will undergo a thorough health screening before boarding, during the flight and upon arrival at CFB Trenton, Ontario,” said a statement from Global Affairs Canada.

“All other returning Canadians, including staff and flight crew, will remain at CFB Trenton for 14 days for further medical assessment and observation, and be provided with all the necessary medical and other supports as needed to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians.”

Until Sunday, the federal government hasn’t said whether Canadians who eventually arrive from China would be quarantined. But officials said they were closely watching developments in other countries, including the United States.

Nearly 200 Americans have already been evacuated from Wuhan, and U.S. health officials ordered that they be quarantined for two weeks. It was the first time a federal quarantine has been ordered in that country since the 1960s, when one was enacted over concern about potential spread of smallpox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

South Korea, too, quarantined its evacuees, who arrived in Seoul on Friday. They underwent screenings for fever before boarding buses to quarantine facilities established in the central towns of Asan and Jincheon. Residents there have protested plans to place the evacuees in their neighbourhoods, throwing eggs and other objects at visiting government officials.

The Australian government was forced to defend its plan, which involved sending evacuees to Christmas Island, which has been used to banish asylum seekers and convicted criminals. Critics warned that some Australians would prefer to stay in China rather than go there.

“The government remains fully engaged on the issue, and will do all that is necessary to ensure the safety of Canadians, both at home and abroad,” said a statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office after a meeting of senior cabinet members where the plan to quarantine at the Trenton military base was discussed.

The number of Canadians who want to flee the Chinese province afflicted by the virus climbed to 325 on Sunday.

Global Affairs Canada provided the updated figure on Sunday, as the world saw its first case of a person dying from the new coronavirus outside of China — a 44-year-old man in the Philippines.

“This has been a rapidly evolving situation and the number of Canadians asking for assistance is quickly changing,” said a statement from the department.

Global Affairs Canada said government officials and military personnel are currently en route to Hanoi, Vietnam, and in the process of obtaining visas from the Chinese government to enter Wuhan.

It said the government has chartered a plane to land in Hanoi and then head to Wuhan, where airspace is currently closed, once it gets approval from the Chinese government.

But there was no indication Sunday from Global Affairs about the status of that flight.

The department was, however, telling people not to go to the airport unannounced because they will not be permitted to board the aircraft. Instead, they were told to contact its Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa to make arrangements.

“Canada is chartering a plane to take Canadians from Wuhan, China back to Canada. We have 325 requests for departure assistance from Hubei Province and we will be reaching out to provide updates and to confirm their needs in order to assist our logistical planning,” the department said in a statement.

“Spaces will be limited and not guaranteed, and will likely only be confirmed with very little notice.”

READ MORE: Keep calm and wash your hands: B.C. pharmacist’s tips on coronavirus prevention

Canada is consulting with the United States and Britain “to ensure co-operation and sharing of best practices in this operation,” the statement said.

China says 361 have died on the mainland from the new virus, with an additional 2,829 new cases over the last 24 hours bringing the Chinese total to 17,205.

The latest figures, released on Monday in China, come a day after the first death from the illness was recorded outside the country, in the Philippines, as countries around the world evacuated hundreds of their citizens from the infection zone.

Canada has four known cases — three in Ontario and one in British Columbia.

On Sunday, a second French-chartered plane carrying 300 evacuees from China landed at the military base of Istres in the southern French region of Bouches-du-Rhone. That followed the first French plane that landed on Friday.

In spite of the widespread fear of the virus, health officials in Canada have said chances of contracting it in this country are exceptionally low. They said people should take normal cold- and flu-season precautions of frequent hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes.

READ MORE: B.C. coronavirus testing continues, still only one confirmed case

— with files from the Associated Press

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lake Kathlyn school sold to unknown buyer

The 11.64-acre property was listed in mid-January for an asking price of $1.1 million.

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

Coast Mountain College appoints a new president

The promotion came from within the school

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Galchenyuk nets shootout winner as Wild edge Canucks 4-3

Vancouver tied with Calgary for second spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C.’s soda drink tax will help kids lose weight, improve health, says doctor

Dr. Tom Warshawski says studies show sugary drinks contribute to obesity

A&W employees in Ladysmith get all-inclusive vacation for 10 years of service

Kelly Frenchy, Katherine Aleck, and Muriel Jack are headed on all-expenses-paid vacations

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett says they can be in Smithers Thursday

Province shows no interest in proposed highway between Alberta and B.C.

Province says it will instead focus on expanding the Kicking Horse Canyon to four lanes

First case of COVID-19 in B.C. has fully recovered, health officer says

Three other cases are symptom-free and expected to test negative soon

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Most Read