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

Woman comes home to ‘entirely different’ Victoria after cruise ship, military base quarantine

Melanie Sibbitt booked herself a last-minute vacation on a cruise ship hit by COVID-19

Victoria street nurse thanks public for outpouring of donations

Businesses and individuals donated gloves, masks, sanitizers and more to frontline workers

COVID-19: Victoria moves homeless into 35 hotel rooms across the city

Mayor pleads with residents to stay inside during pandemic

Wheelchair user asks people to leave space on sidewalks to socially distance

Wendy Cox says many people are not stepping off the sidewalk to allow her space

Victoria brewery uses 3D-printer to make face shields for health care workers

Phillips Brewing is teaming up with engineers to create single-use medical equipment

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

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

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read