Published: Sat, February 22, 2020
Global News | By Blake Casey

Flight carrying Canadian cruise passengers from Japan on way home

Flight carrying Canadian cruise passengers from Japan on way home

The quarantined Canadians were passengers returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, shown here at port in Japan in 2017.

"There has been obviously concern about the practices on board the ship that have potentially led to the increased spread of the coronavirus on the ship", Hajdu said, adding that she also has empathy for Japanese officials who had to handle the quarantine of more than 3,000 people docked off a major city.

The passengers repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship have arrived at the Nav Centre in Cornwall. The Diamond Princess is the site of the most COVID-19 infections outside of China, where the illness emerged late previous year.

"I have assessed additional individuals in quarantine at CFB Trenton pursuant to an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act and determined that they do not pose a risk of significant harm to public health", she said in a press release dated February 15. The Diamond Princess had more than half of the confirmed cases outside that country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Phillipe Champagne said the travelling Canadians were tested for the virus in advance of their departure from the vessel bound for the airport.

World must act fast to contain coronavirus, says WHO chief Tedros
On Friday, South Korean health officials reported a dramatic jump in cases of COVID-19, as the disease is officially known. By Friday, the city and its surrounding areas had 152, including South Korea's first two fatalities from COVID-19.

"The Government of Canada continues to work with provincial, territorial and local health authorities to ensure that the returning Canadians and their family members receive all the medical and ongoing support necessary to protect their health and the health and safety of all Canadians", read a Global Affairs statement on Friday, Feb. 21.

Those who were cleared to travel are to be screened again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton before they are placed in isolation at the Nav Centre in eastern Ontario.

Others who chose to stay behind - with loved ones who are sick, for instance - will be subjected to a mandatory quarantine when they return to Canada on commercial flights. "I took into account the fact that they did not spend time in the epicentre of the outbreak, that they followed appropriate infection prevention and control protocols and that they did not have unprotected contact with passengers or persons at risk of having the novel coronavirus". Those Canadians are to be flagged upon their return to the country, and live out their isolation periods at home or in a designated facility, Hajdu said.

A good portion of the area at the Nav Centre was being fenced on Thursday, signalling the start of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) quarantine measures in the building.

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