Though hundreds of Canadians were repatriated on a flight from Morocco on Saturday, thousands more remain stranded abroad over tight travel and border restrictions put in place to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking to Mike Le Couteur on Global News’ The West Block, Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne shed some light on Canada’s efforts to repatriate those desperate to get back home.
He described the operation as “on a scale that we’ve never seen” before.
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According to Champagne, Canada’s operation centres have received at least 14,000 emails and 10,000 phone calls within the last 48 hours and they have 600 people staffed around the clock to answer those calls for help.
“You know, if you look at the scale of what we’re trying to achieve, Canada and any other country, this has never been seen in the history of the world, where you have all these issues at the same time: air space closure, airport closure, martial law in some countries,” said Champagne.
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Champagne said that Canadians should expect more updates on their work to bring citizens home as the process remains extremely complicated.
“Getting the plane is usually the easiest piece. You know, that’s step one,” he said. “After that, I need to negotiate country by country.”
“So that’s why information is key in times of crisis and in times where people are nervous,