U.S. to evacuate 'few dozen' Canadians from Wuhan: Champagne

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says the federal government has secured space on board a U.S. plane to evacuate a "few dozen" Canadians from the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The U.S. plane will leave a few hours after an evacuation flight organized by the federal government that is set to carry 211 Canadians out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus.

That government-chartered evacuation flight was to have already been in the air and on its way back to Canada, but was delayed due to bad weather.

Champagne says nearly 400 Canadians have asked Ottawa for help leaving Wuhan, which the Chinese government has locked down to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

Champagne says if there are still Canadians after the Canadian and U.S. flights have departed Wuhan who still want to leave the city, the government will look at its options, which could include a second charter flight.

Those on board both flights will eventually be ferried to Canadian Forces Base Trenton in Ontario, where they will be monitored for two weeks to see if they have contracted the coronavirus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2020.