Wayne Duplessis, right, and his wife Emily Tjandra pose for a photo in their home in Wuhan, China in this handout photo. A Canadian teacher who has been living in China for about six years has some advice for those who want to evacuate from the epicentre of an outbreak of a new form of coronavirus. Don’t. Wayne Duplessis, a teacher at Wuhan Optics Valley Weiming Experimental School, in Hubei province said he doesn’t think it’s wise. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Wayne Duplessis

VIDEO: Feds look to help 126 Canadians quarantined in China for coronavirus

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said Thursday Ottawa is “looking at all options” to help Canadians quarantined in China during the outbreak of a new coronavirus.

China began drastic containment efforts to limit the spread of the virus last week, cutting plane, train and bus links to Wuhan, a city of more than 11 million people. Several other nearby cities have been quarantined since, cutting off an estimated 19 million people.

Champagne said 250 Canadians have registered with Global Affairs Canada to say they are in Wuhan and 126 of them have asked for help to get home. He said his officials are trying to contact each one of them to assess their needs.

“Every Canadian that has reached out to us for consular assistance will receive it,” he said.

He said Canada will tailor its response based on what it finds after all the Canadians asking for help have been contacted.

He noted the number of Canadians seeking help keeps changing as more and more people register via the Global Affairs Canada website — the previous day, the number of Canadians registered in the region was 167.

Champagne said help could include sending a plane to fly them home, but that Canada is also working with other countries in similar situations. Canada doesn’t have a diplomatic office in Wuhan but other countries do and are evacuating their workers. In some cases, others of their citizens are leaving alongside the diplomats.

READ MORE: B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

Champagne said Canada is in contact with the Chinese government about making sure Canada can help its citizens.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says she doesn’t yet know whether any of the Canadians in quarantine in China are sick or would be quarantined in Canada if they do come home.

Not all Canadians in the affected part of China want to leave.

Wayne Duplessis, working in China as a teacher, says he and his family are hunkered down in their home just outside of Wuhan’s city centre. He, his wife, Emily Tjandra, and their 15-year-old son Wyatt have spent the last two weeks chatting with people online, watching videos, movies, and the news, and listening to music.

Duplessis said in a Skype interview that he doesn’t want to spend hours in the air with people who could be sick.

Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical officer, has said symptoms of the new coronavirus are similar to those of the common flu and it can take up to two weeks for an infected person to start showing signs.

Duplessis is originally from Espanola, Ont., and he teaches at Wuhan Optics Valley Weiming Experimental School. He said he thinks it’s best to wait it out in Wuhan ”no matter how difficult that is.”

His advice is to maintain routine.

“Get up in the morning, make your bed, brush your teeth, make breakfast, so some things are the same way every day … follow that routine so there is a structure to your day.”

China has confirmed more than 4,500 cases of the new virus, with more than 100 deaths — though cases can also be mild and go undiagnosed. Most of the confirmed cases have been in Wuhan.

“Pretty much since they announced the lockdown … last week it’s been ridiculously quiet. Eerily quiet,” Duplessis said. “It’s been described by various people here like something out of a dystopian movie or something out of ‘The Walking Dead.’”

Duplessis said when he last visited the grocery store about a week ago, he saw a few people in masks and gloves and some wearing swim goggles.

The epidemic has revived memories of the SARS outbreak that originated in China in 2003 and killed nearly 800 people. Chinese authorities were criticized for reacting slowly and failing to disclose information.

Duplessis, who has lived in Asia since 1996 and was in China during SARS, said the cities weren’t locked down then and it didn’t seem as immediate.

“We moved around relatively freely. We still gathered together,” he said. “There wasn’t isolation as there is now.”

But credit cards, electronic money and the internet have helped people “effectively still be in contact with everyone,” he said.

“That has reduced the isolation or at least the feeling of isolation if not the cabin fever.”

Mia Rabson and Hina Alam, 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

Central zone has 20 active cases of COVID-19

Province identified 143 new cases across Alberta on Wednesday

Sylvan Lake Municipal Library going waste free with new program

The Zero Waste DIY program begins on Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. on Zoom

COVID-19: Active cases in central zone up Tuesday

Central zone active cases remains lowest of all zones

PHOTOS: Eckville graduates receive their diplomas, finally

Eckville Jr./Sr. High School held a socially distanced grad over the weekend

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

Liberals vow wage-subsidy extension to 2021, revamp of EI system in throne speech

Canadian labour market was hammered by pandemic, when lockdowns in the spring led to a loss of 3 million jobs

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

Grand jury indicts police officer in Breonna Taylor death

Officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment

Missionary plane dedicated at Ponoka, Lacombe airports

MiracleAir flies humanitarian missions to Nicaragua

RCMP investigating after far-right groups disrupt anti-racism rally in Alberta

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer said she respects the right of peaceful assembly, but denounces racism and violence

Refresh of Liberal government’s agenda comes amid new looming COVID-19 crisis

Lockdowns saw fed spending soar to historic levels in effort to offset pandemic’s blow to Canadians’ livelihoods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Most Read