A plane chartered by the Canadian government to repatriate its citizens from a cruise ship previously held off the coast of California over the novel coronavirus outbreak has landed at the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) in Trenton, Ont.
The plane landed just before 6:30 a.m. ET on Tuesday.
But, speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said 228 Canadians were repatriated from the Grand Princess.
According to Champagne, among those who were left behind were crew members who tested positive for the virus and others were passengers who left the cruise liner to receive treatment for other medical conditions in California.
Champagne said “a handful” of Canadians tested positive for the virus, but did not specify how many.
Canadians were required to pass a screening process before being allowed to board the flight, anyone exhibiting symptoms of the virus was not permitted to board.
The cruise liner had been held at sea off the coast of California for nearly five days, after 21 cases of the novel coronavirus were detected on board.
Officials ultimately allowed the cruise ship to dock in Oakland, Calif., on Monday.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday thanked Canada and the United Kingdom for their help in repatriating foreign nationals, saying the Canadians aboard the ship had returned home “in a very dignified fashion.”
It was not clear what Trump meant by “dignified,” although it may have been a response to complaints from some frustrated passengers that after weeks of being isolated in their cabins, many were in close contact with one another as they queued up to be screened.
The Canadian government announced on Sunday it would be repatriating its citizens from the ship.
In the statement, Champagne said the passengers will be quarantined at CFB Trenton for 14 days.
On Monday, Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam recommended that Canadians avoid all cruise ship travel.
–With a file from The Canadian PressView link »