In an announcement on Sunday afternoon, the federal government confirmed that it will be stepping in to retrieve Canadians stuck on the Grand Princess. The novel coronavirus affected cruise ship has been stranded off the U.S. coast following an outbreak of COVID-19. 237 Canadians are believed to be on board.

In a press release shared on Twitter, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne confirmed that the government would be repatriating Canadians aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship after the U.S. reached out to them for assistance.

The rescue plane will take passengers from San Francisco to the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton, where they will then be assessed and quarantined for up to 14 days.

They will be tested for novel coronavirus before being able to board the aircraft. Those who test positive will not be permitted to leave, and will be “further assessed to determine next steps.”

“Given our shared border, Canada recognizes the importance of working together with the United States to limit the spread of COVID-19 within North America and beyond,” the release explains.

There are currently 21 people aboard the Grand Princess that have tested positively for COVID-19.

The nationality of those people is not yet known, but the ship is carrying more than 3,500 people from 54 different countries.

Last week, the Grand Princess was forbidden from docking as scheduled in San Francisco, amid reports that there were cases of novel coronavirus on board the vessel.

The ship was returning from a trip to Hawaii on Thursday morning when officials requested all passengers to stay on board.

It has since been forced to remain at sea, and has been floating off the coast of California.

This follows a similar situation last month when Ottawa was required to rescue 129 Canadians from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which had been docked in Japan under comparable circumstances.

The government has since advised against taking cruise vacations during the COVID-19 outbreak, noting that the interactions with other passengers and close quarters are a “breeding ground for the virus.”

“We are working hard to help Canadians return home and make sure appropriate measures are in place to prevent and limit the spread of COVID-19,” Champagne said in a statement.

It is not yet known when the passengers will be repatriated.

You can keep up-to-date with all of the latest novel coronavirus news by checking out the Government of Canada’s dedicated website.

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