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

Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

Other Island hospitals will be admitting COVID-19 patients and will be used in a support role

Port Alberni’s Lauren Spencer-Smith advances to American Idol top 20

Teen performs Respect at outdoor concert in Hawaii

Former Alberni Valley Bulldog Eric Margo shows heart on and off ice

Queen’s University Gaels forward blends hockey with humanitarianism

An ongoing updated list of Alberni Valley events affected by COVID-19

Has your event been cancelled or postponed? Check here

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

75-year-old woman rescued from Cowichan Lake

Victim taken to hospital, but expected to recover

Not to become bored the game plan for COVID-19

Board game with an Island map developed by Island family just the remedy for filling time at home

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

Most Read