Canada Coronavirus: Mandatory quarantine in Philippines leaves Canadians trapped abroad
How one Windsor resident spent 14 days under a coronavirus self-quarantine
Joy Zhang said she didn't feel sick or exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, the decision to self-quarantine was in part inspired by a desire to stay cautious.Zhang spent more than two weeks visiting family in Tianjin, China, returning in mid-February. Although she didn't feel sick, she didn't need to think twice about going into quarantine.
Torontonian Melissa Woolfson and her boyfriend, Devin, are trapped halfway across the world after the Filipino city of Bacolod, where they currently reside, released an executive order, quarantining everyone in response to thepandemic.
"We are essentially stuck here,” Woolfson explained over the phone to Global News early Wednesday.
The 25-year-old has been interning with Global Affairs Canada International Youth program for the last 5 months and was set to return to Ontario on April 26.
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On March 8, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte deemed the novel coronovirus outbreak a public health emergency.
Days later on March 11, the World Health Organization confirmed COVID-19 officially a global pandemic. Woolfson said that's when the Canadian government began to make plans to bring interns home early.
But things, she said, began to change rapidly.
And one week later, Woolfson said the mayor of Bacolod put the city under a mandatory quarantine with “no warning.”
Now, she is hoping a last-ditch flight to Manilla will get her home.
Woolfson learned of the tourist-only flight early Wednesday afternoon, telling Global News she isn’t allowed to buy tickets. Instead, she will have to lineup at 9 a.m. Thursday to "hopefully get on the flight."
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that a flight has been arranged to bring home Canadians stranded in Morocco, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the transport sector. "We're in discussion with Canadian airlines to help Canadians stranded abroad come home," Trudeau said this morning from outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, where he remains in self-isolation. "We're in discussion with Canadian airlines to help Canadians stranded abroad come home," Trudeau said this morning from outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, where he remains in self-isolation.
Woolfson added her colleague and three other interns are also caught in the Filipino lockdown.
Global News has reached out to Global Affairs Canada but did not hear back at the time this article was published.
According to the Trudeau government, there are about three million Canadians working and living abroad, many of them stranded as borders close and airlines ground planes.
“I think it’s just realistic to know that there are some of them that will not be coming home in the coming weeks, but we will make measures available through Global Affairs Canada,” Trudeau said outside his home in Ottawa on Tuesday.
The federal government has made loans available to those abroad totaling $5,000 per person for flights and accommodations as lockdowns become the norm.
"At a time like this you want to be home with family...in the Canadian medical care system in case you do get sick," Woolfson said.
Stressed out she might not be able to get home and, like many other Canadians, may have to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic abroad.
Hey! My friends and I are stuck in Bacolod, Philippines as they cancelled all land, sea, and air travel. Any advice on who to contact for assistance? Thanks!!!
— Melissa Woolfson (@melissawoolfson)
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