The federal government announced that Canadians evacuated from Wuhan, China, the region hit hardest by the new coronavirus, will have to undergo a two-week observation period CFB Trenton, upon their arrival in Canada.
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. François-Phillippe Champagne stated in a press release, “The Government of Canada takes the health and safety of Canadians, both at home and abroad, very seriously. We are taking action to return Canadians home from Wuhan, China, while ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to prevent and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.”
“We have been working with all levels of government, public health officials, and our international partners to ensure the safe return home of Canadians from Hubei Province, including staff and the flight crew. Our plan is focused on ensuring the health and safety of all Canadians,” added the Minister of Health, Hon Patty Hajdu.
Canadian communication with government officials
Canadians in the region are in communication with government officials, who have been offering information and assistance regarding evacuation. The Government of Canada has chartered a plane that will land in Hanoi, Vietnam, and then deploy to Wuhan, China, where the airspace is currently closed. Upon authorization from the Government of China, the plane will land to facilitate departure from the affected region.
“The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces always stand ready to help Canadians in need. I am proud of our highly trained medical personnel who will assist in maintaining the health and safety of those travelling from Wuhan,” noted the Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan.
“As requested, our personnel and facilities will be made available to help the returning Canadians. We will continue to work with our federal partners and are prepared to assist wherever we are needed,” he continued.
Manifest details are being provided in advance of the flight departure, along with other work being underway to comply with Chinese requirements. Furthermore, government officials and CAF medical personnel are currently en route to Hanoi, in the process of obtaining visas from the government of China in order to enter Wuhan.
Security measures put in place
As a security measure to protect the health and safety of Canadians, both those entering and those returning to Canada will undergo a detailed health screening prior to boarding, during their flight and upon arrival at CFB Trenton.
All returning Canadians, including staff and flight crew, will remain at the base in Trenton for two weeks to accommodate further medical assessment and observation, as well as provision of all necessary medical support needed.
Chief of the Defence Staff writes letter for military families
Chief of the Defence Staff General John Vance shared a letter on social media addressed to families across Canada concerned about the situation.
“I know this news may raise concerns for family and friends who have loved ones involved in this important mission,” he writes. “My senior leadership and I have been fully engaged throughout the planning process, and I can tell you that we have full confidence in the protocols identified and the measures put in place, to safeguard all CAF members and returning Canadians.”
He added, “Know that we are working with public health officials from all levels of government to ensure a high level of care while our fellow citizens are under observation.”
Joint Task Force-Central (JTFC) is working closely with government partners to support the return of Canadian citizens from Wuhan, China. Headquartered out of Toronto the JTFC Commander also commands 4th Canadian Division (4 Cdn Div). The JTFC is responsible for leading the CAF continental operations in the province of Ontario. The JTFC Commander directs CAF response anywhere in the area of responsibility (AOR) if help is asked.
Any Canadians in China who are in need of emergency consular assistance can contact the Embassy of Canada in Beijing at 86 (10) 5139 4000. They are also welcome to call Global Affairs Canada’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre (EWRC) in Ottawa at +1-613-996-8885 or email email@example.com.