OTTAWA – All Canadians evacuated from the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China will be placed in quarantine for 14 days once they arrive at a military base in the province of Ontario, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said on Monday (Feb 3).
Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said a total of 304 people were seeking to be flown out of Wuhan, capital of the central province of Hubei, where the fast-spreading coronavirus originated. The Canadian government has chartered a plane but does not yet have permission for it to land in China, he told a news conference.
If need be, Ottawa has an option for a second plane, he said. Once the aircraft lands at Trenton Air Force base, some 180km north-east of Toronto, everyone will be kept in individual isolation for two weeks.
“These folks are in the city of Wuhan and that is the centre of the epidemic… The quarantine of these individuals is out of a sense of precaution,” Ms Hajdu said.
The death toll in China from the newly identified virus rose to 361 as of Sunday, up 57 from the previous day, the National Health Commission said.
Asked why the Canadians wanted to leave, Ms Hajdu said: “Life has become exceedingly difficult in a city that is under such extreme quarantine… there is no line of sight for the Canadians that are there in terms of when that might change.”