Buses carrying Canadian cruise ship passengers whose charter plane landed at CFB Trenton early Friday morning have arrived in Cornwall to begin a 14-day quarantine.
The plane, which landed just after 2 a.m. ET, was carrying passengers from the Diamond Prince cruise liner that was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, since early February due to an outbreak of COVID-19, which is caused by the coronavirus.
According to a Facebook post by Bernadette Clement, the mayor of Cornwall, Ont., 131 passengers and seven crew members were on board the charter flight.
The majority of those passengers are over the age of 60, she said, but range in age from 20 to 80.
All repatriated passengers on the chartered flight had tested negative for the virus but were screened again in Trenton before boarding buses destined for the NAV Centre in Cornwall, according to Health Canada officials.
Lolita Wiesner, who was on the Diamond Princess cruise ship to celebrate her anniversary, said medics boarded the plane shortly after landing to take passengers’ temperatures and deliver meals.
Forty-seven Canadians who were on board the ship tested positive for COVID-19. Those passengers were not allowed to board the charter flight, and are in isolation at Japanese health facilities.
On Friday, the Canadian Red Cross announced it was sending a team to Japan to offer support to the Canadians who are being treated there.
As the quarantine in Cornwall gets underway, another group of people are due to be released Friday from separate quarantine in Trenton. Canadians evacuated from Wuhan, the Chinese city at the heart of the outbreak, were quarantined at Yukon Lodge after returning to Canada on Feb. 7.
The NAV Centre is a hotel, conference and community centre. It has previously been used by the federal government as an emergency shelter.
Some Cornwall residents, including Mayor Bernadette Clement, were surprised and expressed concern about hosting the cruise ship passengers at a facility that’s open to the public and not typically used for medical purposes.
Representatives from the Public Health Agency of Canada, which is handling the operation, said no one under quarantine will be in contact with the general public.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) said the section of the NAV Centre that will be used is isolated and has its own ventilation system separate from the rest of the complex.
Health officials said in a press conference Monday that the risk to the general public is low.
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