Updated Mon. May. 4 2009 5:54 PM ET
CTV.ca News Staff
Two groups of Canadians in China are being held in quarantine in hotel rooms as a precaution against the H1N1 flu, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs confirmed Monday.
One group consists of tourists, who are being placed under "preventative medical surveillance" at the Metro Park Hotel in the Wanchia district of Hong Kong.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Alain Cacchione told The Canadian Press that, according to Chinese authorities, it was confirmed one of the guests tested positive for the H1N1 influenza virus.
"Consular officials have been assured by local authorities that all guests are being well cared for and have access to amenities including food and communications," Cacchione said from Ottawa.
"We have no indication at this time that any of them are showing flu-like symptoms."
Meanwhile, Sophie Langlois, director of media relations for the Universite de Montreal, confirmed to CTV.ca that students with the university's Centre for Studies in East Asia have also been quarantined.
Langlois said the professor leading the students on the trip said they are being held at a hotel in the northern city of Changchun.
The students are in China to study Mandarin and are taking part in a language exchange program.
On Saturday, they had flown from Beijing to Changchun, where they were met by health officials at the airport and taken to a room to have their temperatures taken.
Peter Kent, the minister responsible for overseas consular services, confirmed Monday that 22 students out of a class of 28 are currently in quarantine.
"They were originally quarantined in a university dorm, but after complaints, Chinese authorities moved them to a hotel," Kent told CTV's Power Play on Monday.
Kent noted that the students say they have been treated well and are free to move around the hotel.
"That said, we have asked Chinese authorities for an explanation of why this happened here," he said. "They passed through Beijing with no complications."
While no one in the group has a fever or is showing signs of illness, they were told they would have to be quarantined for seven days.
The group must have medical examinations in which their temperatures are taken, four times a day.China has not reported any cases of H1N1 flu. The only person in east Asia to have been diagnosed with the virus is a Mexican traveller who was identified last week in Hong Kong.
Dr. Keiji Fukuda, acting assistant director-general of for Health Security and Environment at the World Health Organization, was asked about such quarantines at Monday morning's daily news conference.
"I don't want to comment on the disease control actions of specific countries," Fukuda said.
"I do want to point out that quarantine, in certain situations, can be a quite reasonable action to take in specific situations. There are times when it would be reasonable and other times when it would not.
"But as we've mentioned over and over again, situations differ and countries' approaches to disease control measures are choices. There is no set recipe for how you approach disease control."
|Why are they only doing this to these students? Were they in Mexico prior to this? Are they isolating other tourists etc from countries that have suspected H1N1 virus? There has to be more to this story, the students aren't sick yet they are being isolated - odd!
|So we have a media that is intent on overdramatizing this flu combined with a nation that thinks diplomacy is a closed cell.
Hey this this is going well...don't you think?
|Now is China doing this just to disprove prejudice against Mexicans or are they just in general in a panic? It’s interesting that a country that is the source of many flu viruses is concerned about what comes from other countries.
|Can you say: "Over Reaction"....
|Watch and see if Canada sends a charted plane to go pick them up.... of course not. I will be greatly surprised if they do. Perhaps with the next outbreak of the bird flu we should show the same courtesy that they have shown, lock them up too. No if's and or buts about it!!
See their reaction!! I get it if they are sick but even then they are human and deserve to treated accordingly. Do they lock their people up when there is an outbreak of H5N1 Bird Flu which is far deadlier than this H1N1 flu going around now... not!!!
|Having travelled to China, the place is a cesspool. Tourist should be happy to be quarantined and protected from the Chinesse environment.
|I am with those that think this goes deeper than concern about the flu virus. I wonder how closely they are being monitored and I don't just mean medically. Is the Canadian embassy involved to make sure they are not being denied basic freedoms? What right do they have to seclude perfectly healthy people? It is ridiculous.
|I dont remember quarantining the Chinese in Canada when sars was around.
|So China has banned pork from Canada and quarantined some of our visiting Candian students. All this from the country that poisoned their own babies with melamine and put all kinds of crap into products shipped over here.
|I may have raised my eyebrows, except that we're talking about China.
|Yes I think they are right to do so .China has the largest population . just think about what would happen if it went wild over there.
|I'm not surprised.
If they're banning pork imports and all travel to our country, then we should assume they don't want people from our country traveling into theirs. Dido for the quarantine of Mexicans in China. China does not want their own people traveling to Mexico. It should be clear that they wouldn't want Mexicans traveling into their country.
Obviously there's a lot of fear out there. There's also a lot of skeptics. Nobody is RIGHT in this type of situation.
There will always be over reactors and under reactors. But even those definitions are relative and our opinions of various reactions are bound to change as time goes by and we learn more about this virus.
|I guess they would spend their time surfing the net and catching up on news back home except most news sites are blocked in China.
This isn't just a China over reaction. People all over the world and the governments have gone off the deep end over this scare. As the saying goes "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions".
|China has had problems with bird flu and the concern is what if the current swine flu h1n1 mutates once it meet with the bird flu. WHO still says we should be cautious and not let our guard down yet.
China cannot afford an outbreak, they have to take extra precautions because they don't have the resources to manage another strain of flu virus spreading throughout China.
Here in canada in less then 24 hours its the cases of the flu virus doubled.
As the cases increase the higher the chances of this strain turning into something worse.
|China has the right to protect it's people however they see fit. I think Canada should have been quicker with posting the travel advisories. As a Mexican/Canadian currently spending a year in China i feel rather safe knowing that measures are being taken no matter how excessive they might seem. Also had Canada placed some quarantines, maybe the Alberta pig farmers wouldn't be having the problems they are getting now...
|I think Canada must send a strong message to the Chinese and stop targeting Canadian pork and citizens for no legitimate reason.
First step is to impose trade sanctions and embargoes against China for over-reacting and targeting Canadians though they test negative for H1N1.
China, food for thought, did we quarantine Chinese citizens during the SARS epidemic which originated in China? No we didn't.
Therefore, during the Swine Influenza epidemic, you have to right to quarantine Canadian citizens.
Stop over-reacting China.
We treated your citizens fairly during the SARS Epidemic, now its your turn to treat Canadian citizens in your country fairly. Remember, what goes around, comes around.
|I think they are doing 100% right.
Look at what these narrow mind people are talking about. These students are only quarantined for 7 days and not forever. Langlois says the students and their professor are being treated well, have Internet and email access and are being provided with meals.
Are you talking about right? freedome? lol. Do you fly to Mexica right now?
|Sent:||May 5, 2009 1:51:43 AM|
（ LE DEVOIR 05.05.2009 ）
Au Québec, le décompte est resté stable à trois infections, alors qu'aucun nouveau cas ne s'est déclaré depuis 24 heures.
(LA PRESSE 05.05.2009)
L'un des 29 étudiants de l'Université de Montréal qui ont été mis en quarantaine dans un hôtel situé dans le nord de la Chine par mesure préventive contre la grippe A (H1N1) affirme qu'il n'y a aucun sentiment de panique au sein du groupe.
Mardi, au cours d'une entrevue téléphonique avec le diffuseur CTV News depuis la ville de Changchun, Anne-Marie Roberge a dit que les étudiants estiment que la situation est frustrante, mais qu'ils se considèrent comme étant bien traités.
Mme Roberge a expliqué que les autorités chinoises leur fournissent trois repas par jour et qu'ils ont la permission de marcher dans un jardin.
Elle a ajouté que les étudiants et elle sont également testés trois fois par jour pour déceler des symptômes de la grippe A (H1N1), mais que personne du groupe n'a présenté de signes de la maladie jusqu'à présent.
Anne-Marie Roberge pense faire partie du seul groupe d'étrangers qui a été mis en quarantaine dans la province de Jinlin par mesure de prévention contre la grippe.
（CYPERPRESSE.CA,le 06 mai 2009 à 06h55 | Mis à jour à 14h44 ）
Lin Ji, directeur adjoint du département de santé de la province de Jilin, a déclaré que la décision de lever la quarantaine avait été prise sur la suggestion du ministère chinois des Affaires étrangères.
«Après avoir pris connaissance de l'état de santé des étudiants, le ministère des Affaires étrangères a proposé (mercredi) matin de les libérer plus tôt», a dit M. Lin.
Mardi, le secrétaire général de l'ONU, Ban Ki-moon, avait fait savoir qu'il demanderait aux gouvernements de revenir sur les mesures restrictives en matière commerciale et de circulation pour cause de grippe A (H1N1), à moins qu'elles n'aient des fondements scientifiques clairs.