cfb trenton

Canadians evacuated from China have now landed at air force base in Trenton

Hundreds of Canadians who have been trapped under lockdown at ground zero of the coronavirus outbreak in China have finally landed safely in Canada.

The 176 passengers from Wuhan landed at a Canadian Forces base in Trenton, Ontario — a municipality two hours east of Toronto — during the wee hours of this morning. The chartered flight stopped once to refuel in Vancouver, with no disembarkments.

The flight held mostly Canadian citizens, but also 13 permanent residents of Canada and six Chinese nationals who helped chaperone Canadian minors, according to CTV News.

Of the more than 300 Canadians who requested to be evacuated from the Chinese city, flight HFM322 was able to hold 211, but some did not show up.

A number of permanent residents of Canada were also prevented from boarding the plane by Chinese officials. The fate of these individuals is in the hands of China, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu told The Current.

A similar flight operated by the American government, which is carrying 50 Canadian citizens, left Wuhan this morning and just finished refuelling in Vancouver, according to the CBC.

The CBC also reports that no one on flight HFM322 showed symptoms of the coronavirus, but all passengers will be carefully assessed by doctors and quarantined for 14 days in motel-like accommodations at CFB Trenton, as the virus's incubation period can be up to two weeks.

Those on the flight told CTV News that they are quite understandably extremely happy and relieved to be back home. One added that "it's really sad what's happening [in Wuhan], it could have happened anywhere in the world," adding how much they loved the "beautiful city."

The Canadian government will charter a final flight to Wuhan on February 10 to pick up any Canadian nationals remaining there. Those currently in Trenton will be transported to their various homes across Canada after their isolation period is up later this month.

The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has risen to upwards of 31,000, with approximately 15 per cent in critical condition. There have been 636 fatalitiesthe fatality rate of the virus is about 2 per cent — but nearly triple the number of recoveries so far. The illness has spread to 25 countries and warranted the quarantine of multiple cruise ships.

Canada has five confirmed cases of the virus, plus two confirmed presumptive cases. Seven Canadians aboard a ship off the coast Japan have also tested positive for the virus.

Lead photo by

Kent Matthiesen

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