A flight to Montego Bay, Jamaica, was forced to turn around and return to Canada after a man stood up and declared he contracted the coronavirus on a recent trip to China.
James Potok, 28, announced mid-flight on Monday that he had contracted the deadly virus, according to the local police.
When the plane returned to Toronto Pearson International Airport, the man was assessed by medical staff and was deemed symptom-free.
A WestJet flight from Toronto to Montego Bay, Jamaica, was forced to turn around after a man stood up and declared he had contracted the coronavirus while on a recent trip to China.
The Peel Regional Police said in a statement that at about 1 p.m. local time on Monday, James Potok, 28, announced mid-flight that he had contracted the deadly virus, which has killed at least 426 people and infected more than 20,000 — the vast majority in China across 24 countries.
According to the police, the announcement was shared with the flight crew, who decided to return to Toronto Pearson International Airport. The man was assessed upon landing back in Toronto at about 2 p.m. and was deemed symptom-free.
Potok was charged with mischief and is due in the Ontario court in March.
Data from FlightRadar24 shows the plane’s flight path. The aircraft appears to have turned around near Jacksonville, Florida, about two hours into the flight.
WestJet said in a statement to CBC that the aircraft’s crew followed the appropriate procedures for infectious disease, including isolating the man. It also apologized for the incident.
Five people had tested positive for the virus in Canada, including three in Toronto and two in Vancouver, as of Tuesday.
At least 62 airlines have canceled flights to China amid coronavirus fears.
On Sunday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a special incident-response group to discuss the outbreak and efforts to contain the virus in Canada.
“The government remains fully engaged on the issue, and will do all that is necessary to ensure the safety of Canadians, both at home and abroad,” Trudeau said in a statement.
Trudeau also said a chartered plane would fly to Wuhan — the Chinese city where the disease began that is now on lockdown — in the coming days to evacuate Canadians trapped in the city.