A bus carrying the passengers from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship leaves a port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

Evacuees from Diamond Princess cruise ship arrive in Canada for quarantine

The ship was the site of the largest outbreak of the new coronavirus outside of China

A plane carrying 129 Canadians and their families who have spent weeks confined to cabins aboard a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship in Japan landed on Canadian soil on Friday morning.

The former Diamond Princess passengers can expect to undergo another two weeks of isolation in Cornwall, Ont., where they will be monitored for potential signs of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

All of them were tested for the virus by Japanese officials before they left the ship, which has been docked in Yokohama, Japan, since early February. So far none shows any symptoms of the virus.

Canada chose to re-quarantine the passengers after they’ve already gone through two weeks of isolation aboard the Diamond Princess because new cases were still cropping up on the ship at the end of the incubation period, said Canada’s top public-health official Dr. Theresa Tam Friday.

“We are doing this out of an abundance of caution,” she said.

The ship was the site of the largest outbreak of COVID-19 outside of China, where the virus originated. The Diamond Princess had more than half of the confirmed cases outside that country.

Canadian passenger Lolita Wisener said she was amazed to feel her eyes well up when she saw the Canadian flags on the medics’ white coveralls as they boarded the plane in Japan.

“Everyone, without exception, has said ‘welcome home’ when they see us,” Wisener said. “It’s wonderful to be Canadian!”

About 250 Canadians were originally aboard the ship, and of those 47 contracted the illness and were not allowed to return home. They have been admitted to a dozen hospitals in Japan near Yokohama, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said, and they will remain in Japan for treatment while they receive “tailored” consular services.

READ MORE: B.C. confirms sixth COVID-19 case

He said the federal government has made sure those people have special dietary needs met, are able to communicate with their families and receive interpretation services.

Others who chose to stay behind — with loved ones who are sick, for instance — will be subjected to a mandatory quarantine when they return to Canada on commercial flights.

Those who were allowed to return landed at Canadian Forces Base Trenton at 2 a.m. Eastern time, where they were screened for symptoms before they were taken by bus to Cornwall.

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

Victoria police warns of text, vacation rental COVID-19 fraud attempts

Frauds appearing online, in text messages and through vacation rentals

Development and building applications in Victoria can now be submitted online

Victoria mayor moves daily update to 2:30 p.m. every weekday

COVID-19: Health care workers seek alternative housing options to prevent families from getting sick

Volunteers, residents and businesses step up to provide frontline workers with alternative housing

Victoria Police see new trends in calls due to COVID-19

Police link jump in domestic, mental health calls to pandemic

BC Parks Foundation organizes virtual picnic for the province

Join a B.C.-wide picnic online Saturday, March 28

Trudeau announces 75% wage subsidy for small businesses amid COVID-19

This is up from the previously announced 10 per cent wage subsidy

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

World update, 9:30 p.m. March 27: Positive news in Korea as U.S. hits 100,000 cases

The United States now has the most coronavirus cases of any country in the world

VIDEO: Penguins roam empty halls of Vancouver Aquarium

COVID-19 has forced the Vancouver Aquarium to close access to guests – leaving room for its residents

COVID-19: Qualicum Beach youngster gets car parade for his sixth birthday

Friends get creative after party cancelled due to ongoing pandemic

Kids get back to learning in B.C., online

Ministry of Education rolls out new tool for school

Nanaimo RCMP ask for help locating 17-year-old girl believed to be with 36-year-old man

Mary Cyprich, missing since Thurday, might be in company of Force Forsythe

67 more B.C. COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Vancouver region

Positive tests found in Surrey, Langley long-term care facilities

Most Read