(Adds status of passengers on second flight)
TRENTON, Ontario, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Two planes carrying a total of 215 Canadian evacuees from the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China landed at an air force base in Ontario on Friday and Canada’s health minister said none showed any symptoms of the illness.
A Canadian government-chartered plane landed early on Friday morning carrying 176 passengers, and 39 other Canadians who flew from Wuhan on a U.S. State Department-chartered evacuation flight landed in Vancouver and boarded a chartered flight to the air base, a government official said.
“Fortunately no one showed symptoms on the plane, so no one had to disembark at the fueling station in Vancouver,” Canadian Minister of Health Patty Hajdu told CBC Radio.
All evacuees will be quarantined on the Trenton, Ontario base for two weeks, separated from each other in a building that resembles a small hotel, with families kept together.
One evacuee, Edward Wang, was promised a seat on the U.S. plane along with his mother, also a Canadian citizen. He was eager to be back in Canada and nervous about the lack of hospital beds in Wuhan. The outbreak has killed more than 600 people..
“You imagine things like this happening in war zones,” he said, speaking before the flights left. “It feels so surreal.”
While most of the passengers are Canadian citizens because of rules set by the Chinese government, Canadian authorities said some permanent residents would be allowed on board to accompany minors.
Another Canadian flight is scheduled to leave Wuhan on Feb. 10, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said.
Canada was hit hard by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), another coronavirus, and health authorities are working to contain the new virus. As of Thursday afternoon, five cases had been confirmed in Canada.
The government has told citizens not to travel to Hubei province, and to avoid non-essential travel to the rest of China.
Reporting by Carlos Osorio in Trenton, Ontario, Caroline Pailliez in Paris, Allison Martell and Moira Warburton in Toronto; additional reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru; Editing by Dan Grebler and Grant McCool
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