As Canadians stranded in Wuhan, China await a 250-seat rescue plane to bring them back to Canada sometime this week, local health officials are preparing for that plane to touch down in Metro Vancouver.
The plane, which is expected to pick up passengers in the coming days, will be stopping at YVR to refuel before continuing to an Ontario military base, where the passengers will then be quarantined.
- Read more: What should evacuees expect on their return?
"We are making preparations to make sure we can support if anyone needs, or has medical issues, and they need to be evacuated from the plane while they're here, we have plans in place to be able to support that," Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry told reporters Tuesday.
Henry addressed the plans at a news conference announcing a second presumptive case of Wuhan Coronavirus in the Vancouver Coastal Health area.
Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Monday that it would be unlikely any passengers would be leaving the aircraft as it re-fuels, but local health officials are also working on a strategy to support passengers once they are cleared to return home to B.C.
"We also know a good proportion, or some proportion of people on the plane, will eventually come back to B.C. after their period of quarantine in Trenton. So we are working with our federal counterparts to make sure we can support those people as well, both when they're in Trenton and when they come back here to British Columbia," Henry said.
Once the plane arrives at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, located in a community about 170 kilometres east of Toronto, it's expected that passengers will remain under quarantine for two weeks.
However, the plane expected to be used in the evacuation has now been delayed by a day.
"There is a narrow window given by the Chinese for flights into Wuhan, and the weather conditions were such that the plane couldn't take off," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday.
"So everything is delayed by a day. We're hoping to have these families back on Friday, we understand for loved ones here in Canada, for the families over there that it's extremely difficult, but we're doing everything we can."
Myriam Larouche, a 25-year-old student from Quebec who is in Wuhan, says she got an email from the Canadian Embassy about a delay to her flight, which was supposed to leave early Thursday morning, local time.
The email says the delay was "due to circumstances beyond the control of the Government of Canada."
Ottawa has said more than 300 Canadians have asked for help to leave Wuhan but the plane has room for only 250 passengers.
With files from The Canadian Press