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

Despite pandemic challenges, the Castor Golf Course has some reasons to celebrate their 2020 season

Projects in 2020 include renovations to the club house kitchen and repairs to the roof from last year’s hailstorm

MP Damien Kurek said the recent Throne Speech lacked direction, leadership and clarity

‘It was vague, it was expensive and it’s very intrusive into provincial jurisdiction.’

Central zone down to 16 active COVID-19 cases

Alberta Health Services’ central zone is down to 16

COLUMN: The importance of treating yourself gently

‘Six months into this pandemic and I am starting to struggle. I am starting to be weary’

Central zone down to 19 active COVID-19 cases on Thursday

Provincially, 158 new COVID-19 cases were identified

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $50 million Lotto Max jackpot

Jackpot for the next draw will grow to approximately $55 million

Wilkinson aims to be B.C. premier after cabinet role, working as doctor and lawyer

The B.C. election is Wilkinson’s first as the Liberal party leader

First Nations police services look to throne speech pledge for higher, stable funding

‘I won’t be happy until I hear two words: royal assent’

8 charged, $260K in drugs and cash seized in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

Millet Agriplex to become a hub for indoor soccer

Wetaskiwin Soccer Club will be operating out of the Millet Agriplex this season.

‘We’re losing what makes the Parkland so distinctive,” conservation specialist says

The Lacombe district will lose two sites with provincial park status: JJ Collett and the Narrows

Most Read