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Cornwall's mayor promises to share info as quarantine enters 2nd day

The mayor of the eastern Ontario city hosting Canadian cruise passengers repatriated from Japan after COVID-19 was detected on their ship promises to keep residents calm and informed throughout the quarantine.

Passengers from COVID-19 affected cruise in isolation at city's NAV Centre

Bernadette Clement, mayor of Cornwall, Ont. speaks to CBC News Ottawa host Lucy van Oldenbarneveld on Friday about the 129 cruise ship passengers currently under quarantine in the city in case they should develop symptoms of COVID-19. 6:10

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  • Health officials have confirmed a test for coronvirus at Cornwall's NAV centre came back negative

The mayor of the eastern Ontario city hosting Canadian cruise passengers repatriated from Japan after COVID-19 was detected on their cruise ship promises to keep local residents calm and informed throughout the quarantine.

On Friday, 129 passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise liner arrived on buses at Cornwall's NAV Centre. They had already spent two weeks in quarantine aboard the ship, but fellow passengers kept falling ill.

As part of their two-week quarantine in Cornwall, passengers must abide by strict rules, including wearing masks and gloves if they go outside and not coming in contact with anyone other than medical staff.

In the U.S., some passengers who returned home from the quarantined cruise ship in Japan have since tested positive for coronavirus. More than 600 of the 3,700 passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess have contracted the illness, but those who weren't ill were allowed to return to their home countries after a two-week quarantine ended last week. 

"After a very challenging week it was a rather uneventful morning in terms of their arrival," said Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement on Friday afternoon.

Members of the Canadian Red Cross and the Public Health Agency of Canada greeted the passengers as they began their stay in Cornwall Friday morning.

"The buses arrived, they disembarked, they were welcomed by the team in place," she said. 

All five buses used to transport cruise ship passengers to the Nav Centre in Cornwall, Ont., will be disinfected on site before leaving, federal public health officials said. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

The passengers will be staying in an area with a separate ventilation system and will not come in contact with NAV Centre staff. The facility is a hotel, conference centre and spa. 

'Why here?' Cornwall resident asks

While precautions are in place, some residents of the city expressed concern and wondered why Cornwall was chosen for the quarantine. 

"Why here? We're Cornwall. We're a small town. We've got one hospital that can't even take care of us," said resident Janice Herne.

Others told CBC they were not too bothered by the prospect of people spending their quarantine nearby. Steve Harvey said he trusts the city is safe.

"I did some digging, some reading into it and what I found is there's not really anything about it that's dangerous at all," he said.

"They're bringing people who aren't actually sick."

All the passengers were tested and screened before arriving in Cornwall. On Friday, one person who felt unwell was tested again, but health official confirmed Saturday that the results were negative for coronavirus. 

Clement plans to have daily briefings with health officials and is collecting questions from residents to pose to officials to ensure residents feel in the loop.

"When there's a lack of information, that's when worry sets in," she said.

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