325 Canadians have asked for assistance in leaving Hubei. This is the province in China where a new virus has infected thousands, has now risen to 325, according to Global Affairs Canada.
As of Sunday, Global Affairs says 543 Canadians in China have now registered with consular officials.
The number grew from Friday following Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement. He said that the federal government planned to transport almost 200 Canadians from the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak.
Trudeau said they take a responsible part in the process and coordinate evacuation efforts with other countries.
In an email Global News obtained, Global Affairs officials informed Canadians in Wuhan about limited space on the flight. They said officials would try to give 24 hours’ notice before the aircraft is due to depart, however.
“In the event that there are more passengers than available seats, we will continue to explore all avenues to assist Canadians in departing from Wuhan, China,” the message stated.
“We are taking action to return Canadians home from Wuhan, China”
The trip is open to Canadian citizens only. However, no one presenting with symptoms will be able to board the aircraft.
Another statement came on Sunday from Global Affairs; it said that evacuated Canadians would have to undergo a 14-day period of observation at a Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ont., once they arrive.
“The Government of Canada takes the health and safety of Canadians, both at home and abroad, very seriously,” said foreign affairs minister François-Philippe Champagne in the statement.
“We are taking action to return Canadians home from Wuhan, China. Appropriate measures are in place to prevent and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
The statement also said that Canada has chartered a plane that is standing by but would be landing in Hanoi, Vietnam, and deploy later to Wuhan when it has been given authorization to land.
‘I’m willing to stay in quarantine’
Canadian Megan Millward was visiting her in-laws at a small village in Hubei with her husband and two children. She expressed her concern over a shortage of medical help in the province as well her family potentially splitting up.
“There are no flush toilets, and we obviously knew that ahead of time because we come here every year,”. Millward told Global News about that on Saturday — a day before Global Affairs released an update on their efforts to evacuate Canadians from Wuhan.
“But with a very sensitive health situation, the longer we stay here without running water and proper hygiene, the more worried we become. If something, anything, no matter what it is, there won’t be enough medical care available to us in this location.”
Millward’s husband, Lie Zhang, is a permanent resident. Therefore, he won’t be able to leave Hubei with the rest of his family. Yey Canadian officials said they would be trying to keep families together and raising the issue with the Chinese government.
Millward told Global News she wanted to reassure Canadians that she was willing to take whatever steps are necessary.
“I’m willing to stay in quarantine for 14 days and to undergo any tests,” she said. “We’re not trying to pose a health risk. We’re trying to avoid one.”
As of Sunday, the death toll from the virus in China has increased to 361. The number of confirmed cases also increased to a total of 17,205.
The Philippines also reported its first coronavirus-related death Sunday morning there. According to its Department of Health, a 44-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan was admitted after experiencing symptoms related to the disease. It is the first death to be reported outside of China.
Source: Global News Canada