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

Lacombe Rams football adapting to COVID-19 changes

Spring camp likely cancelled; players working on games from home

LACOMBE EXPRESS: A Message From the Publisher

In good times and bad the Lacombe Express is here to provide valuable, trustworthy information

Town of Blackfalds announces layoffs amid COVID-19 pandemic

Over 25 staff are being laid off or their contract terminated early

Alberta’s new sport fishing regulations include more harvesting opportunities

The 2020 regulations feature more opportunities for recreational fishing and online licences

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

Please remember to practice social distancing at all our locations.

Sylvan Lake plumbers ask for social distancing while working in homes

Fonda’s Plumbing and Heating says they went out to six service calls in one day during the outbreak

Wetaskiwin Food Banks are preparing for a surge in need due to COVID-19

Layoffs are expected to play a major role in need for the Food Bank.

Town of Sylvan Lake temporally lays off 64 employees during COVID-19 pandemic

The Town has enacted a temporary 60-day layoff process for 64 employees

Trump says he expects Russia, Saudis to cut oil production

Energy prices haven’t been this low since 2002

WATCH: Update from Prime Minister Trudeau

April 2 briefing from Ottawa

Unemployed during COVID-19? Here’s how to navigate federal programs

Here’s who qualifies for federal assistance

Baseball season postponed until the end of April

Baseball Alberta worked with Baseball Canada to postpone events until at least April 30

Most Read