The Canadian government says it has chartered a plane that is now standing by to evacuate Canadians from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the deadly coronavirus.
According to the federal government, the plane will land in Hanoi, Vietnam before deploying to Wuhan once the Government of China has given authorization to land. Currently, the airspace in Wuhan is closed.
The government says work is also underway to comply with other Chinese requirements, including providing manifest details in advance of the flight departure and further documentation on the Canadians wishing to depart. Additionally, government officials and Canadian Armed Forces medical personnel are currently on their way to Hanoi and in the process of obtaining the necessary visas from the government of China to enter Wuhan.
“The Government of Canada takes the health and safety of Canadians, both at home and abroad, very seriously,” said François-Phillippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, in a statement on Sunday.
“We are taking action to return Canadians home from Wuhan, China while ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to prevent and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
The government says the Canadians returning home will undergo a thorough health screening before they board, during the flight, and upon arrival at a Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, ON.
All returning Canadians, including staff and flight crew, will remain at CFB Trenton for 14 days for further medical assessment and observation, and be provided with all the necessary medical and other supports as needed to ensure the health and safety of all Canadians.
However, it remains unclear at this time as to when Canadians will be able to leave Wuhan.
As of Monday, the death toll from the virus has increased to 362 and the number of confirmed cases also increased to a total of 17,489.