Canadians in Wuhan to be evacuated Thursday, government letter says

Canadians in Wuhan to be evacuated Thursday, government letter says

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says that second flight is scheduled to leave Wuhan on February 10 and arrive in Canada the next day.

At the same time, Champagne encouraged Canadians anywhere in China on non-essential business to leave on commercial flights "while they remain available", noting the situation on the ground has been changing by the day. The letter said a flight is to depart from the city's worldwide airport early Thursday morning.

"Because it really allows us to make sure that we get in touch with every family, that anyone who wants to get on board can see their name on the manifest, and that we can handle the logistics on site to make sure they can Go to the airport, "he said".

Several Canadians also traveled on a United States plane that had empty seats and was scheduled to depart shortly after the Canadian plane.

The plane was carrying 176 passengers out of Wuhan, a city in China's central Hubei province where the coronavirus originated in December.

The letter says passengers must get to the airport themselves and warns of possible delays at checkpoints.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said efforts to minimize the risks to Canadians in Canada as well as those returning are ongoing. "But very excited, and know we're safe here".

The Canada evacuation flight from Wuhan will be departing this Thursday.

A plane chartered to evacuate more than 200 Canadians stranded in Wuhan, China, landed safely at Vancouver International Airport Thursday night for refuelling on its way to Ontario, where passengers will be placed in quarantine for two weeks at Canadian Forces Base Trenton. "That is the safest way of ensuring you are on time".

Almost 500 people have died and tens of thousands have been infected, the vast majority in China but increasingly outside the country as well, since the outbreak in Wuhan was first reported to the World Health Organization in December. More than 20,000 people have been sickened in China and at least 180 in other countries, including four in Canada.

A man wearing a face mask rides a bicycle amid snow, as the country is hit by an outbreak of the novel coronavirus, in Beijing, China Feb. 6, 2020.

"On board the flight, DND medical staff will perform health assessments of each person and travellers will complete a health declaration and receive and sign a Passenger Information and Acknowledgement form", she explained.

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

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