Canadians who have spent weeks on a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan will board a government-chartered plane to take them home Thursday evening, the foreign affairs minister says.
Thousands of passengers who’d been taking a cruise on the Diamond Princess have been stuck aboard the ship, docked in Yokohama while the illness dubbed COVID-19 has sickened hundreds.
Japanese authorities will test Canadian passengers for the virus before allowing them to leave the ship, where they’ll be taken by bus to the airport to board the chartered plane, Francois-Philippe Champagne said Wednesday.
Anyone who wants to come home and has been cleared to fly will be checked out again at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in Ontario, before being moved on to quarantine at a hotel and conference centre in Cornwall, Ont., a few hundred kilometres east.
But those passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19 will remain in Japanese health facilities, Champagne said.
Forty-seven of about 250 Canadian passengers had been struck by the bug at last count, according to Canadian authorities.
“The best approach to dealing with Canadians who have been infected with the coronavirus in Japan is for them to be treated locally,” Champagne said in Ottawa after question period Wednesday.
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