23:48 GMT26 February 2020
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    TORONTO (Sputnik) - A Canadian charter plane will soon be prepositioned in Hanoi, Vietnam, while awaiting Chinese approval to evacuate more than 300 Canadians stranded in the city Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a press conference.

    “We have chartered a plane, which will be going to Hanoi where it will be prepositioned as we await final approvals from the Chinese authorities”, Champagne said on Monday evening.

    Flanked by Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan and Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, Champagne said that Canada’s Standing Rapid Deployment Team is already in Wuhan and is coordinating the next steps with the Chinese authorities.

    Champagne added the situation remains fluid and he will update the public with the exact information when the chartered airplane leaves for Canada.

    The Health Minister said during the press conference that the evacuees will be held in quarantine for 14 days - the maximum incubation period for the virus - in individual isolation at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Trenton. Should any of the evacuees exhibit coronavirus-like symptoms on board the airplane, they will be isolated, masked and immediately transported to a local medical centre during a refueling stop in Vancouver, Hajdu added. She reassured Canadians that the risk to public safety remains low and declaring a public health emergency is unwarranted at present.

    On Sunday, Canadian outlets reported that the number of Canadians, who have asked for assisted repatriation, has risen to 325 out of 543.

    Canada has confirmed four coronavirus cases out of the 126 patient samples that have been analyzed at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

    Scientists work in VIDO-InterVac's containment level 3 laboratoryat the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada
    © REUTERS / VIDO-InterVac
    Scientists work in VIDO-InterVac's containment level 3 laboratoryat the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Canada

    In total, at least 425 deaths from the novel virus have been registered in China so far, with around 20,000 people infected with the virus all over the world.

    As of today, cases of new coronavirus, dubbed 2019-nCoV, have been registered in more than 24 countries, including South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United States.

    coronavirus, Canada, China
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