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Plane carrying Canadian evacuees out of China will stop at YVR
VANCOUVER -- When the government is finally able to fly Canadian evacuees from China's Hubei province back home, the plane will be making a brief stop in Vancouver – though it's unlikely any passengers will be leaving the aircraft.
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu announced Monday that the evacuees are all being taken to Ontario, where they will be placed in quarantine for two weeks at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton.
The chartered plane will have to stop in Vancouver to refuel, but Hajdu said only passengers who started showing coronavirus symptoms during the flight will be disembarking in British Columbia.
"If a passenger is ill and exhibiting symptoms on the flight, they will meet immediate medical assistance from the province of B.C., who will transport them to a facility and they will be isolated to prevent the spread of disease but also to protect them and help them recover," Hajdu told reporters Monday.
Chinese authorities are not allowing anyone who is already symptomatic to leave the country, so all the returning passengers will have to appear healthy when they board.
None of the Canadians requesting evacuation are showing symptoms so far, according to officials.
Should anyone become sick after takeoff, Hajdu said they will be given a mask and placed in an isolated area of the plane for the duration of the flight.
Some 300 Canadians in Hubei have asked the government for help getting home, 280 of whom have Canadian passports. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said the Chinese government has agreed to allow "primary caregivers" of Canadian children to leave the country, regardless of whether they are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or Chinese nationals.
"We received assurance that China will follow (through) on that," said Champagne.
It's still unclear when the evacuation flight will depart. The federal government said it's been working around the clock on repatriation, but that it's still waiting on final approvals from China.
"We have to actually determine when we can land, and that is, obviously, completely up to the Chinese government. They are very willing to have us land our plane there, it’s just a matter of logistics," Hajdu said.
With files from CTVNews.ca's Solarina Ho