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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Monday, 10.08.2020, 19:31

Latvia-bound military plane turned back after Canadian troops possibly exposed to Covid-19

BC, Riga, 06.07.2020.Print version

A military plane carrying Canadian troops to Latvia turned around mid-flight Thursday, after someone who might have come in contact with the aircraft tested positive for Covid-19, according to the CBC reports informed LETA. 

Canada's Department of National Defense told CBC News Saturday that the individual, who was not on board the flight, may have interacted with passengers before the plane took off from Canadian Forces Base Trenton.

The Canadian Armed Forces learned the news while the flight was in the air.

"As such, the decision was made to return the aircraft en route, rather than land in Latvia, to avoid the possible risk of spreading the disease," a spokesperson for the Canadian Joint Operations Command (CJOC) wrote in an email.

The department said approximately 70 passengers and aircrew members were on board the aircraft but said it believes the risk of exposure is low.

"These members will now undergo a second isolation period of fourteen days in Trenton, prior to continuing on with their deployment," the spokesperson said.

Canada has been leading a multinational NATO battle group in Latvia since 2017, where 540 Canadian troops are currently stationed.

A rotation of new troops from Canada into Latvia was set to get underway this month. Colonel Eric Laforest, commander of Task Force Latvia, previously told CBC News that all incoming troops would be required to isolate for two weeks prior to deployment.

CJOC said the plane was meant to come back to Canada with around 70 returning soldiers who had completed their tour. The Canadian military is now considering other options to bring those members home.

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