304 Canadians have asked to be evacuated from China but status of flight still uncertain
Canadian officials may have secured a plane to bring citizens home from Wuhan, but the aircraft still hasn't departed — and 304 Canadians are now asking for evacuation.
The number is down from the previous reported 325 Canadians asking for government assistance.
The plane will fly from Vietnam and land in Wuhan.
Canada's foreign minister says number of Canadians seeking assistance is 304, down from 325. Figure includes 280 people holding Canadian passports. François-Philippe Champagne also says government has secured option for 2nd plane if required.— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) February 3, 2020
Initially, Canadians officials said that they will "explore all avenues to assist Canadians in departing from Wuhan" should the number of passengers outweigh the number of available seats.
Now, Canada's Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne says that a second plane will be secured if required.
Passengers will be prioritized according to emergency disaster protocol; pregnant women and children will be boarded first.
Families will also be allowed to stay together.
Canada says China has agreed to allow families to remain together if children are involved, even if some family members seeking to leave China are dual citizens.— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) February 3, 2020
Passengers boarding the plane will be screened twice: first, by Chinese health officials, and then by Canadian health care providers.
Any passengers showing symptoms of coronavirus before the flight will not be allowed to board. Passengers showing symptoms upon landing will be "segregated" from the rest of the passengers.
Canadian officials are still waiting for Chinese visa approval before they can fly to Wuhan to assist in the evacuation.
Health officials says Canadians boarding government charter plane in Wuhan will be first screened by China health officials, then by Canadians. Anyone who shows symptoms of coronavirus during flight will be segregated. Timing of departure subject to Chinese approval.— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) February 3, 2020
The federal government says that returning Canadians will undergo a two-week period of observation at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ont., upon arrival.
The base is located about 170 km east of Toronto.
Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance reassured local families that measures were in place to "safeguard the health and security of everyone."
“To CAF Families in Trenton: Protecting the CAF and your community is essential. As we support the safe return of Canadians at CFB Trenton, be confident that all measures are in place to safeguard the health and security of everyone” JV @CFOperations— General Jonathan Vance (@CDS_Canada_CEMD) February 3, 2020
Canadian officials have yet to announce when the planes will land in Wuhan to evacuate citizens.
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