Proposed coronavirus quarantine period for Canadians sufficient, says expert

Cheryl Sanders
February 4, 2020

Meantime, the federal government is awaiting final approval from Chinese authorities to fly through restricted airspace and land at the closed airport in Wuhan to pick up Canadian citizens from the quarantined region of the country that is the epicentre of the virus.

"The airspace in Wuhan is now closed so we need special dispensation for our plane to land", he told reporters.

"It is important to note that individuals should not present themselves to the airport unannounced as they will not be permitted to board the aircraft", Leclerc said.

A reception and integration centre is being prepared at CFB Trenton where the returning Canadians, along with government officials and air crew involved in the airlift, will by quarantined for medical observation for two weeks as a precaution.

"During the flight, Canadian Forces Medical team will complete a detailed health questionnaire to gather traveller contact tracing information", Minister Patty Hajdu said.

Global Affairs Canada stated in a press release Sunday it had received 325 requests from Canadians who want to leave Hubei, the Chinese province hardest hit by the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

"The federal government announced its plans to bring Canadians home from Hubei, China".

"They will be isolated to prevent spread of disease, but also to protect them and help them recover", she added.

"I don't anticipate we will be able to get the Chinese to concede on that point", Hajdu said.

"It is a precautionary measure, because the passengers come from an area with the most intense transmission of the virus in China", she said.

The Ontario base was chosen because it has the space to allow large numbers of people to be processed quickly, and a facility where people can be housed with dignity, said Hajdu.

As of February 3, updated numbers from China said the total number of infected in the country has risen to 17,205, while there are now four known cases of Coronavirus in Canada - three in Ontario and one in British Columbia.

"We will be in touch with Canadians in Wuhan later this afternoon to provide them all the necessary details", Champagne said.

For the time being, Beijing is only allowing Canadian citizens and permanent residents travelling with children under the age of 18 to leave China.

Canadians will undergo extensive medical screenings before being allowed to get on the plane. The Chinese government does not recognize dual citizenship, so potential Canadian passengers who are also Chinese citizens may not be allowed to leave.

As the virus is reported in more countries, Bogoch says the use of the term pandemic is premature, which is when there is a significant person-to-person infection outside of the country of origin. Entering China on a Canadian passport is one requirement to be an evacuee.

Life has become hard in Wuhan, Hajdu said, with a lockdown on the city that bars travel to school, work, stores and everyday places. "There are more people there than in NY or London".

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