Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne tweeted on Monday that the flight has left Wuhan successfully and has 185 passengers on board.
It is the third flight to bring Canadians and their family members back from Wuhan over the past week — another flight chartered by the government as well as an American flight on which several dozen Canadians were on board arrived in Canada on Friday with more than 200 evacuees.
A total of 373 Canadians had registered with Global Affairs Canada as of last week as wanting help getting out of the country, Champagne said.
Those on their way back to Canada now are en route to Canadian Forces Base Trenton, which is where the other evacuees are being housed.
They will remain there in quarantine for 14 days.
Earlier in the day, Canada’s chief medical officer released one government employee and five flight crew members who had assisted with the first evacuation flight from quarantine, citing a low risk of exposure to the virus.
“In my assessment, I took into account the fact that they did not spend time in the epicentre of the outbreak, that they followed appropriate infection prevention and control protocols (including the use of personal protective equipment), and that they did not have unprotected contact with passengers or persons at risk of having the novel coronavirus,” Dr. Theresa Tam said in a statement.
“As a result of this assessment, I have determined that their continued quarantine is not required.”
Since late last week, more than 200 Canadians have been evacuated from Wuhan, where the new coronavirus is believed to have originated.
They have been under a mandatory 14-day quarantine at the base, located about 175 kilometres east of Toronto, in order to prevent the possible spread of the virus, currently known as 2019-nCoV.
Monday’s news comes just a day after Tam announced that Canadian Armed Forces medical staff who accompanied the returning travellers would be leaving the quarantine early.
In a statement, Tam said the individuals “do not pose a risk of significant harm to public health.”
So far, Tam said no one at CFB Trenton has shown signs of the virus.
Wuhan has been under quarantine for weeks as Chinese officials grapple with the fight to contain the spread of the virus.
As of Monday, the virus had infected more than 40,600 people globally and killed more than 900.
In Canada, seven cases of the virus have been confirmed, four of them in British Columbia and three in Ontario.
— With files from Global News’ Kerri Breen and the Canadian PressView link »