Canada's Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam has confirmed that a chartered government plane carrying 176 individuals out of Wuhan, China, has landed at CFB Trenton.
Since the onset of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Government of Canada issued a travel advisory, urging Canadians to avoid all travel to the province of Hubei, including the cities of Wuhan, Huanggang and Ezhou, due to the imposition of heavy travel restrictions in order to limit the spread of the highly contagious virus. Several Canadians were trapped in mainland China following a series of travel bans, which included airlines cancelling flights to major global hubs, including Beijing and Shanghai.
The Huffington Post reports that 13 permanent residents and six Chinese nationals with Canadian visas were allowed to escort the 34 Canadian minors returning home.
Prior to boarding, the Canadian Forces health team was tasked to conduct a detailed health assessment of each passenger in order to ensure that individual was fit to fly, and not showing any symptoms. Travellers were also monitored throughout the duration of the flight, and a thorough health assessment was done on arrival.
What happens next?
Passengers who show symptoms of coronavirus will be transferred to the local health care system following all appropriate protocols, Tam said via Twitter.
All other returning Canadians will remain at Canadian Forces Base Trenton for up to 14 days for further health assessment and observation and be provided with all medical and other support needed
As of Feb. 6, 2020, five cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) have been confirmed in Canada. In addition, the Government of British Columbia reported their third and fourth cases of 2019 nCoV.
The province has sent the presumptive positive samples to the National Microbiology Lab (NML) for further testing. If confirmed by the NML, these would be Canada's sixth and seventh confirmed cases.
Besides Canada, the following countries have confirmed cases: Australia, Belgium, Cambodia, China, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macao, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam.
According to the Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC), the overall risk to Canadian travellers abroad is low, but the risk to Canadian travellers to China is assessed as high, which is why the Government of Canada has issued a series of travel advisories.
For the latest up to date information on coronavirus in Canada, click here.
Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!