Canada keeps cruise ship evacuation numbers secret

China | 21 Feb 2020 1:09 pm

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced on social media that a plane carrying Canadians took off from Japan.

Each passenger was given a government-issued facemask and colored wristband before they were ushered off the Diamond Princess cruise ship to the Haneda Airport, according to a letter from government officials to the evacuees on board the ship, The National Post reports.

The government has promised to release how many of the roughly 250 Canadians from the ship boarded the flight. Those figures are expected shortly after takeoff.

The plane is set to land at CFB Trenton at 1:30 a.m. eastern time.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu said there was a chance that those who tested negative for the virus and show no signs of symptoms may be released from quarantine early under the discretion of Canada’s top public-health doctor.

Hajdu said Canada will be keeping its eye on the examination of how the virus was handled on board the ship, especially as it relates to Canada’s own upcoming tourist season.

“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,” she said, adding that she also has empathy for Japanese officials who had to handle the quarantine of 3,000 people docked off a major city.

Canada has already started to prepare for how it will deal with tourists in light of the potential spread of the virus this year, she said.

As for the more than 200 Canadian evacuees and their families who have been serving out their two week quarantine at CFB Trenton, none have developed symptoms after their arrival from Wuhan, China, the centre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The government is now working to help facilitate their return to their homes.

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