February 9, 2020 Ottawa, ON Public Health Agency of Canada
OTTAWA – On February 7, 2020, the Government of Canada repatriated Canadians and their families from Wuhan, China, which is the epicentre of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (referred to as 2019-nCoV).
Repatriated Canadians and their family members are at Canadian Forces Base Trenton for 14 days for further health assessment and observation. This action is being taken to reduce the risk of spread of 2019‑nCoV, based on our knowledge of the incubation period for the virus.
Pursuant to an Emergency Order under the Quarantine Act, as the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO), I have the discretion to determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether the quarantine can be for a shorter period based on an assessment of the risk of harm to public health. In exercising this discretion, I consider the risk of exposure—taking into account relevant factors such as the time spent in the epicentre of the outbreak, the use of personal protective equipment, and any contact with a person showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
I have assessed each member of the Canadian Armed Forces medical staff who accompanied the returning travellers, and determined that they do not pose a risk of significant harm to public health, and consequently their continued quarantine is not required.
These individuals are not at risk of exposure to 2019-nCoV as they did not spend time in the epicentre of the outbreak, followed appropriate infection prevention and control protocols (including the use of personal protective equipment), and did not have unprotected contact with passengers or persons at risk of having the virus. All passengers were asymptomatic during the flight, and to date, none of the returning Canadians or their family members have exhibited symptoms of 2019-nCoV.
I will continue to work closely with my provincial and territorial colleagues, as well as the World Health Organization and other international partners, to take the steps necessary to protect the health and safety of Canadians and to mitigate the risk of spread of the virus in Canada.