Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne during an update on the coronavirus situation on Monday, February 3, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Canadians in Wuhan to be evacuated Thursday, government letter says

The government can’t guarantee that everyone who is eligible will be able to board the plane

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says a plane meant to pick up Canadians from Wuhan, China is on its way to Vietnam.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Champagne says the charter flight will wait in Hanoi for final permission from Chinese authorities to land and collect Canadians from an area quarantined to contain an outbreak of a new coronavirus.

The Canadian Press has obtained a copy of a letter sent to Canadians and permanent residents currently in the city that is the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The letter says a flight will depart from Wuhan’s international airport early Thursday morning although no time has been given.

It also says that due to high demand, the government can’t guarantee that everyone who is eligible will be able to board the plane.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has said 304 Canadians have asked for assistance to return home but only 280 have Canadian passports.

Ottawa has said that upon arrival in Canada, the evacuees will be quarantined at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton for 14 days.

The letter also says visits from friends and family during this period will not be permitted, to prevent the possible transmission of the virus.

The new coronavirus has so far killed 425 people in China and two others in Hong Kong and in the Philippines.

More than 20,000 people have been sickened by the virus in China and at least 180 in other countries, including four in Canada.

READ MORE: Ontario coronavirus investigations seem to be tapering off

—With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press


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