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B.C. father counting down the minutes until his son is evacuated off quarantined cruise ship
VANCOUVER -- A father in Fort Langley says he is counting down the minutes until his son is evacuated off the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
“I’m not going to take a deep breathe until that plane is wheels up and out of Japanese airspace,” Scott Fehrenbacher told CTV News Saturday.
His son, Spencer Fehrenbacher, is one of hundreds of people who have been stuck on the ship in Japan for more than a week, quarantined over an outbreak of the new corona virus, now known as COVID-19.
Spencer is a U.S. citizen and a Canadian permanent resident. The U.S. has announced plans to fly Americans home on a chartered flight late Sunday. From there, they will be taken to an Air Force Base in either California or Texas.
“They’ve given him instructions on how many bags he can take, what the total weight of the bags are, what to expect. And they do have to pass one final temperature screening before they’re allowed to leave," Fehrenbacher said.
"He’s been taking his temperature multiple times a day. Thank the lord, so far he is very stable at the right temperature."
On Saturday evening, Global Affairs Canada announced that it would charter its own plane to evacuate the Canadians onboard. In a statement, the agency said the decision was a result of the "extraordinary circumstances faced by passengers on the Diamond Princess." It was also intended to "lighten the burden on the Japanese health care system."
Canadians aboard the ship will be flown to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, where they will be assessed and transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute in Cornwall, Ont., to undergo a 14-day quarantine, Global Affairs said.
This news comes as Europe confirms its first death – an 80 year-old Chinese tourist who died in hospital in France.
Mainland China has recorded 1,523 deaths and one death recorded in Japan, Hong Kong, France and Philippines respectively. More than 67, 000 cases have been reported globally, eight of those in Canada.
B.C. announced another presumed case Friday, bringing the provincial total to 5.
But the World Health Organization says there is no sign the virus is exploding.
“We call on all governments, companies and news organisations to work with us to sound the appropriate level of alarm without fanning the flames of hysteria,” WHO Director general Tedros Adhanom said in Munich on Saturday.
Once off the ship and back in U.S., Spencer will then go through another 14 days of quarantine. He then plans to come back to Vancouver.
His father is doing anything he can to pass the time until that happens.
“My other son, my son-in-law and I are all growing beards until Spencer arrives at YVR," Fehrenbacher said, "and then we’re going to shave and have a big party, whenever that is.”