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Wuhan coronavirus scare turns plane back to Toronto

Christian Fernsby |
Passengers on a flight to Jamaica had their plans interrupted when the airplane returned to Toronto after a man claimed he had the coronavirus, Canadian news reports said yesterday.

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The Westjet plane was two hours into its journey when a man stood up and said he had been in China and was infected with the coronavirus, police said.

“That announcement was shared by the flight crew with the captain and a decision was made for the plane to return back to Pearson [International Airport in Toronto],” said Peel Regional Police Constable Bancroft Wright.

There were 243 passengers on board and while the captain suspected it was a hoax, he decided to return to the airport.

“Out of an abundance of caution, our crew followed all protocols for infectious disease on board, including sequestering an individual who made an unfounded claim regarding the coronavirus,” said Westjet spokesperson Morgan Bell. He was given a mask and gloves and told to move to the back of the airplane.

A medical team and law enforcement officers were waiting when the plane touched down at Pearson.

“Due to the involvement of law enforcement, as well as the privacy of our guests, we are not able to provide additional information about the incident at this time,” Bell said.

The passengers were accommodated to board another flight to Jamaica that was to fly to Jamaica on Tuesday.

Police confirmed a 29 year old man was arrested.

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