Canadian passengers stranded in Japan for over two weeks on board the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship began a 14-day quarantine as their plane landed in Canada earlier Friday, local media reported.
The plane chartered by the Canadian government brought 129 Canadians and their families to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario. None of them showed symptoms of the novel coronavirus upon arrival.
"The returning Canadians have been through a stressful experience over the past couple of weeks," Canadian Health Minister Patty Hajdu said in a statement.
"During their quarantine in Canada, we will offer support for both their mental and physical well-being. We will also continue with measures to protect the general population from exposure to the virus," Hajdu said.
There were 256 Canadians on the cruise ship, quarantined in Yokohama, and 47 of them have tested positive for the virus, local officials said.
Only Canadians and permanent residents from the ship who did not test positive for the virus were eligible to board the chartered flight. It remains unclear why only 129 Canadians and family members boarded the plane.
Canadian passengers on Diamond Princess, who chose not to return on the plane, would have to complete the quarantine being administered by Japan and follow the instructions of local authorities, said Barbara Harvey, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada.
Canadians seeking to return to Canada by commercial means will be subject to the Quarantine Act upon their return, in line with a determination to be made by the Public Health Agency of Canada, Harvey added.
In the meantime, the Canadians airlifted to Canadian Forces Base Trenton from China's Wuhan just completed their quarantine and began leaving the military base on Friday.