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Professor evacuated from Wuhan provides glimpse at ‘quarantine’ life at CFB Trenton

Coronavirus outbreak: Ottawa professor offers glimpse of life for Canadians inside CFB Trenton
Coronavirus outbreak: Ottawa professor offers glimpse of life for Canadians inside CFB Trenton.

An Ottawa professor staying at CFB Trenton after arriving from the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak showed a glimpse of what life was like under quarantine.

Christopher Lan, an engineering professor at the University of Ottawa, started the first of his two weeks at the air force base with a few short videos.

He is among 213 evacuees from Wuhan — who were flown in on two separate planes Friday — that requested to be repatriated to Canada over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Chinese officials scrambling to keep food flowing to cities on lockdown

Lan began by saying thanks to everyone involved in helping him evacuate, especially extending his appreciation to the Red Cross volunteers who were helping on-site.

“They have actually taken a personal risk to help us,” said Lan.

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“I see they really have minimum protection. I really wish they have better protection because this stuff is really serious.”

Coronavirus outbreak: Repatriated Americans continue to arrive from China, placed under quarantine at U.S. military bases
Coronavirus outbreak: Repatriated Americans continue to arrive from China, placed under quarantine at U.S. military bases

Lan, who is seen wearing a face mask throughout the entirety of the video, also showed the hotel room he was staying in at Canadian Forces Base Trenton — located about 175 kilometres east of Toronto.

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He said that although the hotel rooms were very comfortable, he thinks that the Red Cross made a mistake after placing his family — which has three adults — in a single room, making it feel quite crowded.

“I have put in a request to the headquarters of the Red Cross and hope for things to change today or whenever they have time,” said Lan.

READ MORE: 5 U.K. citizens contract coronavirus at French ski resort

“Apparently, the whole team has been working very hard, to provide the food, all the lease … but I hope that they will be able to address our request soon.”

The two planes that landed Friday will soon be followed by another flight chartered to evacuate Canadians in Wuhan that have asked to leave. The flight is expected to depart Feb. 10 and arrive at CFB Trenton the following day.

“It’s quite a good thing that we have a bit of time in between,” said Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne on Friday.

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CFB Trenton repatriates 213 Canadian evacuees from China
CFB Trenton repatriates 213 Canadian evacuees from China

“Because it really allows us to make sure that we contact every family, make sure that everyone who wants to get on board can get their name on the manifest, make sure that we can work the logistics on the ground to make sure that they can go to the airport.”

Health authorities have identified a total of seven confirmed and presumptive cases of the virus in Canada so far while another seven Canadians were confirmed to have contracted the virus aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama, Japan.

Another 285 Canadians have also been quarantined in both the Japanese cruise ship as well as one located in Hong Kong.

To date, the virus has killed 806 worldwide and infected a total of 37,110 with a vast majority in the Hubei province of China, where Wuhan is located.

“Well we are doing this on the first morning, I imagine we will spend 14 more mornings here, so I will give you updates when time is … well we have a lot of time,” said Lan, who then extended another thank you to the Red Cross and the Canadian government.

“So 14 days will only be a short time. My resolution is to walk at least 20,000 steps every day, now I have already done around 10 per cent, that is 2,000 steps.”

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— With files from the Canadian Press, Emerald Bensadoun and Rachael D’Amore

Follow David Lao on Twitter

david.lao@globalnews.ca