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Despite evacuation, coronavirus-quarantined White Rock couple still two weeks from home

Government chartered plane to help cruising Canadians return from Japan
White Rock couple Patrick Finch and Nigel Finch-Cole are among Canadians facing two more weeks in quarantine, following evacuation from the Diamond Princess in Japan. (Facebook photo)

A White Rock couple who were among travellers quarantined on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan after some onboard tested positive for the coronavirus, are returning to Canada this week – to spend another two weeks in quarantine.

According to a letter issued by the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo to passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess Feb. 15, and shared on Facebook by Nigel Finch-Cole the following day, the Canadian government secured a chartered flight for citizens wishing to return to Canada.

READ MORE: Government to evacuate Canadians from quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship

Passengers were be flown to the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, Ont., then transported to the NAV Canada Training Institute (NCTI) in Cornwall, “where, out of an abundance of caution, all returning Canadians will undergo a further quarantine of 14 days,” the letter states.

Anyone exhibiting symptoms of the coronavirus will not be allowed to board the plane in Japan, it adds.

In sharing the letter, Finch-Cole said he, his spouse Patrick and their travel companions would be flying home today (Feb. 18).

He describes the second round of quarantine as “not pleasant” – noting in later comments that everybody is “furious” about that part – but that “it is a better alternative than remaining here for goodness knows how long, facing flying commercial and alternative quarantine in Canada.”

The group has been quarantined aboard the Princess Cruises ship in Yokohama Bay since Feb. 4.

READ MORE: White Rock couple on coronavirus-quarantined ship urge Canada/UK governments to step up

In a series of Facebook posts last week, Finch-Cole described everything from being confined to staterooms and the distress as new cases are confirmed, to ambulances arriving to take sick passengers away, and passengers being issued masks and gloves “to allow short time for fresh air on port side promenade deck… and told to stay 2 meters apart.”

He also appealed for help returning home, calling on friends and the public to pressure government to step in.

“Thank you all for lobbying on our behalf and to the Government of Canada,” Finch-Cole writes in his most recent post.

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Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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