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'Morale has been high': Health minister visits quarantine zone at CFB Trenton

Last Updated Feb 18, 2020 at 2:52 pm EDT

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Monday, February 3, 2020 in Ottawa. With more Canadians expected to arrive home and be quarantined over fears of the novel coronavirus, Health Minister Patty Hajdu is visiting the military base where several hundred people are waiting out the incubation period. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

With more Canadians expected to arrive home and be quarantined over fears of the novel coronavirus, Health Minister Patty Hajdu visited the military base where several hundred people are waiting out the incubation period.

Canadian Forces Base Trenton is housing Canadians airlifted from Wuhan, China, where the virus was first detected.

On Tuesday, Hajdu met with health workers, Canadian Forces members and staff from the Red Cross, who are all trying to keep the people in quarantine healthy and not too bored while they wait out the incubation period for the respiratory illness.

So far, no cases of the virus known as COVID-19 have been detected there.

“My focus today was visiting the site, looking at some of the planning that’s gone on to make sure that their stay was seamless,” Hajdu said.

“Oftentimes when there’s a new virus on the scene … the tendency can be that we pull apart, but Canadians continually remind that what we are really good at it is standing together for each other.”

“Morale has been high, people obviously have been relieved to get back to Canada,” Hadji added. “The planning that went on included the supports for peoples’ mental health which is really critical especially when you are talking about keeping people in quarantine for a long period of time.”

More Canadians from a cruise ship that was held in Yokohama, Japan, are expected to arrive in Trenton for health examinations today before being moved on to dormitories at a Nav Canada training centre in Cornwall, Ont., which includes a large hotel.

At last count more than 450 people from the Diamond Princess had tested positive for COVID-19, though authorities both in Japan and here say only people who are examined and found healthy would be allowed to fly to quarantine in Canada.

Most cases of COVID-19 are mild but the illness can be deadly, especially in people who are already in poor health. Eight people in Canada have tested positive for the virus, out of about 350 suspected cases, and none has died.