129 Canadians quarantined for coronavirus just across border from Massena

Updated: Feb. 21, 2020 at 11:23 PM EST
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CORNWALL, ONTARIO (WWNY) - The city of Cornwall, Ontario, just across the border from Massena, has 129 new visitors.

They arrived Friday after finally leaving the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, where all passengers were quarantined because of the novel coronavirus.

The 129 arriving in Cornwall have all tested negative for the virus so far. They are now starting a new, 14-day quarantine period at the Nav Centre, a hotel and convention center in Cornwall.

7 News anchor John Moore spoke with Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement Friday afternoon. Here's an excerpt from their interview:

Moore: "Did you have some concerns that you weren't brought into the decision to bring these people to your city of Cornwall?"

Clement: "Well, it's clear that decisions were being made, certainly at the federal government level, between them and the Nav Center, so the conference center that is receiving them and has received them at this point, so the city was not a party to those discussions. So, yes, it does mean that you sort of come in late to the game, but now they're here and so the focus has to be on making sure that there's a good flow of information to the community and also that there's good collaboration with all of the agencies on site, to make sure that their quarantine period is safe for them and everyone."

Moore: "In your (news) release earlier this week, you did note concern and apprehension on the part of many residents. Has that been alleviated or do some of those continue?"

Clement: “There are probably always going to be mixed reactions and I think we have to respect that. Initially, because there wasn’t yet as much information, that made it difficult. When there’s a vacuum or a lack of information, people will then fill that with things, with maybe things that can create some fear.”

Moore: "Mayor Clement, I know you're a welcoming city, you like people coming. If you had your druthers, would these people be coming here or not?"

Clement: "Well, I've been saying to media and to everyone that we didn't choose for this event to occur here in Cornwall, but we have to now choose how we react. So now we have to making sure that the public is getting information and that all these agencies on site are collaborating and working effectively so that the quarantine period passes comfortably and quickly for the people that are here."

Mayor Clement says the 129 people are it - there won’t be any more. She says they range in age from 20 to 80 years old. Most of them are 60 years or older.

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