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Chartered flight to repatriate Canadians stranded in Wuhan delayed

Last Updated Feb 6, 2020 at 6:57 am PDT

Summary

A flight that would bring Canadians stranded in Wuhan back home has been delayed

The Canadians to be brought back are currently in the city that's under quarantine due to the novel coronavirus outbreak

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says weather conditions prevented the plane from taking off

Canadians stranded in a Chinese city under quarantine have been told a flight that would bring them home has been delayed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government was given a “narrow window” for flights into Wuhan by the Chinese government, but weather conditions prevented the aircraft from landing in Vietnam, where the plane was to wait for authorization from Beijing.

“So everything is delayed by a day,” he says. “We’re hoping to have these families back on Friday. We understand for loved ones here in Canada, for the families over there, that it’s extremely difficult, but we’re doing everything we can.”

The flight was scheduled to leave early Thursday morning, local time, and is now expected to leave in the evening.

Myriam Larouche, a 25-year-old student from Quebec who is in Wuhan, says she got an email from the Canadian Embassy about the delay.

The email says the delay was “due to circumstances beyond the control of the Government of Canada.”

Ottawa has said more than 300 Canadians have asked for help to leave Wuhan but the plane has room for only 211 passengers. According to Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, 211 Canadians are on the manifest for the first chartered jet.

Meanwhile, the prime minister says officials have been in touch with the Japanese government regarding a quarantined cruise ship there. The ship went on lockdown, with thousands of people on board, including 251 Canadians, after multiple confirmed cases of the virus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2020.