A Canadian flag is hung up as people board a plane destined for Canada at the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport early in the morning on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020 in this handout photo provided by Myriam Larouche. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Myriam Larouche

Flight from Wuhan takes off for Canada

Plane expected to refuel in Vancouver before heading to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario

A charter plane carrying Canadian citizens home from the centre of the global novel coronavirus outbreak has begun its journey home.

“The plane is wheels up,” Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a tweet Thursday afternoon after the evacuation flight organized by the federal government departed from Wuhan, the city in central China where the outbreak originated.

The flight is slated to stop to refuel in Vancouver before heading to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario where it is expected to land early Friday.

All evacuees from Wuhan will then spend 14 days under quarantine on the military base.

Canadian officials have documented five cases of coronavirus in the country so far.

The plane was originally due to take off on Wednesday, but was delayed due to bad weather.

About 50 more Canadians are expected to leave China on board a United States government flight scheduled to depart later today.

The federal government has also chartered a second flight to bring more Canadians home next week.

The government had secured space for 211 passengers on the first flight, but Champagne said a number of them did not go to the airport.

“As expected, we had a small number of no-shows at the airport, mostly related to individuals who changed their minds at the last minute,” he said.

Champagne said anyone who decided to stay behind would continue to receive consular assistance.

More than 300 people have asked for Ottawa’s help getting out of the Wuhan.

Kate Schellenberg said she received a text message from her twin brother Michael as he was waiting to board. He is set to leave China with his wife Summer Wu and their one-year-old son Felix.

He told her that he could see people wearing yellow hazmat suits.

READ MORE: Second B.C. coronavirus case identified in Vancouver region

Global Affairs Canada had advised passengers to expect delays, noting that Chinese authorities would be performing health screening and immigration controls before people were allowed to board.

The new coronavirus has sickened more than 28,000 and killed 563 in China since the outbreak was first reported to the World Health Organization in December.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Smoky skies clearing throughout B.C. Interior

Environment Canada expects “widespread” improvement for all affected areas by Sunday

Penticton wildfire crew goes from Christie Mountain to Cold Springs

The team at Eagle Ridge Consulting is helping fight fires across the border

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

‘This is a very difficult sentencing’; Judge delays Kiera Bourque manslaughter trial to next week

The courts heard Friday that Bourque “did not intend to cause harm” but that her actions were “reckless”

COVID-19 minimizes Okanagan Regional Library budget increase

Library adapts to pandemic fiscal disruptions

3 new deaths due to COVID-19 in B.C., 139 new cases

B.C. confirms 40 ‘historic cases,’ as well

Stranger in truck grabs boy walking home from school in Kelowna

The 11-year-old boy escaped the incident, RCMP are investigating

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Emaciated grizzly found dead on central B.C. coast as low salmon count sparks concern

Grizzly was found on Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw territory in Smith Inlet, 60K north of Port Hardy

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Most Read