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A plane carrying Canadians in Wuhan, China has departed from the virus-infected city to Vancouver, British Columbia.
According to Toronto Sun‘s Bryan Passifiume, flight A330 departed to YVR airport for a 9,500-kilometre flight back home on Thursday. Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne gave more information about the evacuations at a press conference Thursday.
The flight estimated there would be 211 evacuees, with 194 arrived. Of the 194 arrives, 34 are minors and 13 are permanent residents of Canada.
The flight’s stop in Vancouver will continue on to Trenton, Ontario, according to Minister Champagne.
“That was truly a whole of government effort and while we are not there yet, I would like to recognize the hard work of the incredible public servants who made this complex operation happen to help Canadians in need,” he said.
Minister Champagne said those that did not show up for the flight weren’t present due to a change of heart, deciding to stay put where they were.
A second flight will leave Wuhan on Monday.
Mandatory screening and precautionary measures were put in place for those boarding the flight, and those who were showing any signs of illness were not permitted on the flight.
Roughly 50 Canadians who could not board the flight due to a lack of seating will be able to board an American aircraft scheduled to depart shortly after the Canadian flight.
Five cases of the virus have been confirmed in Canada. Flights to China have been cancelled, as the Government of Canada told Air Canada to advise passengers to avoid all non-essential travel to China. This includes flights to Beijing and Shanghai, until February 29, 2020.
The US and UK already evacuated their citizens a week ago.