Two groups of Canadian citizens have returned home from the centre of a novel coronavirus outbreak in China after they were evacuated by two government flights.
A flight carrying 176 people touched down in Canadian Forces Base Trenton where they will undergo two weeks of quarantine and monitoring to check whether they’ve contracted the virus.
Approximately 50 more Canadians arrived in Vancouver early Friday morning after they were able to board a flight chartered by the American government.
The Canadian government will now bring those Canadians to CFB Trenton to also be quarantined.
Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Thursday that two-thirds of Canadians who are seeking to leave the locked-down city of Wuhan have now been evacuated.
Champagne said the government has chartered another flight from Wuhan for remaining Canadians, which is scheduled to depart on Feb. 10.
About 11 million people are currently under quarantine in the central Chinese city where the coronavirus is believed to have originated.
Myriam Larouche, a Canadian student who was studying in Wuhan, said she was relieved to be back home after a long process that felt longer in a different country.
“I think I’m going to sleep for 20 hours straight,” Larouche said after arriving in Vancouver, adding that the last few days have been stressful.
Health authorities have documented five confirmed cases of the new coronavirus in Canada so far, and say the quarantine is necessary to ensure the virus doesn’t spread further.
On Thursday, two more presumptive cases of the novel coronavirus were diagnosed in British Columbia, where a total of four people have now been sickened with the illness.