Some of the Canadian passengers that are aboard the quarantined cruise ship in Japan will finally be brought home this week. While it's probably welcome news to passengers that home is on the horizon, their ordeal is far from over. Upon their return to Canada, the travellers will be leaving one quarantine and entering straight into another. 

Princess Cruises confirmed in an update that the Government of Canada, along with the Government of Australia, would be repatriating its citizens on chartered airplanes this week.

The decision to evacuate was made "because of the extraordinary circumstances faced by passengers on the Diamond Princess and to lighten the burden on the Japanese health-care system," according to Global Affairs.

Only those without any symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed to board the plane to Canada, which is expected to arrive on February 18.

The evacuees will be transported to CFB Trenton in Cornwall, Ontario.

Despite having no symptoms prior to leaving the ship, the Diamond Princess' passengers will still have to be isolated for another 14 days. Medical professionals will continue to monitor them for any symptoms of the virus.

They will join two other groups of Canadians who were transported out of China earlier in the month. Those people are also under a two-week quarantine.

"The Government of Canada takes the health and safety of Canadians, both at home and abroad, very seriously," François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"In light of the extraordinary circumstances facing our citizens on the Diamond Princess, we are taking action to return Canadians home from Japan, while ensuring that appropriate measures are in place to prevent and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus."

Of the 3,500 passengers aboard the ship, more than 540 have reportedly been diagnosed with COVID-19.

Among those are 32 Canadians who have been moved from the ship and taken to a hospital in Japan.

Worldwide, there have been over 73,000 cases of COVID-19 reported and more than 1,800 deaths caused by the virus, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Within Canada, there have been eight confirmed cases: three in Ontario, and five in British Columbia.

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