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Canadians in Wuhan to be flown out Thursday, government letter says

FILE - In this Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, photo, people wear masks walking in a downtown street in Hong Kong. Hong Kong on Tuesday reported its first death from a new virus, a man who had traveled from the mainland city of Wuhan that has been the epicenter of the outbreak. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Canadians wanting to leave Wuhan amid novel coronavirus outbreak told they'll be flown back to Canada this week

A letter from the federal government says a flight will depart from Wuhan's international airport early Thursday morning

Upon arrival in Canada, the evacuees will be quarantined at a base in Ontario for two weeks, the government said

OTTAWA – The federal government has notified Canadians in Wuhan, China waiting to be repatriated that they will be flown back to Canada later this week.

The Canadian Press has obtained a copy of a letter sent to Canadians and permanent residents currently in the city that is the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The letter says a flight will depart from Wuhan’s international airport early Thursday morning although no time has been given.

It also says that due to high demand, the government can’t guarantee that everyone who is eligible will be able to board the plane.

Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu has said 304 Canadians have asked for assistance to return home but only 280 have Canadian passports.

It’s reported passengers will only be allowed one carry-on bag, and no luggage will be taken or processed. Only those eligible to leave who are asymptomatic will be allowed on the plane out of China.

Ottawa has said that upon arrival in Canada, the evacuees will be quarantined at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton for 14 days.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would not confirm when the Canadians would be brought back, however, he said China has been cooperative in discussions.

When asked whether the ongoing tensions between Ottawa and Beijing over the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou played a role in the current situation, Trudeau said it did not.

“In this case, I can say that China is being fully cooperative with Canada,” he said on Tuesday. “There’s just a lot of processes to make sure that they can get through the local quarantines on the way to the airport, that all the proper paperwork is filled out, that identities are verified and triple verified. But, as an example, the ability to repatriate unaccompanied minors with the accompaniment of even a permanent resident who is Chinese and not Canadian — those are the kinds of things that have shown collaboration in this situation.”

-With files from Cormac Mac Sweeney