The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne attended a meeting on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020 with City of Cornwall officials to discuss news that the NAV Centre in Cornwall will be used as a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) quarantine site for evacuated Canadians currently aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan. The announcement was made by Global Affairs Canada on Feb. 15 and this was the first Cornwall and Akwesasne officials were made aware. MCA is working to assess the situation and also to provide accurate information.

The Global Affairs announcement stated that Canadians aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess will be evacuated and screened before boarding a chartered flight home. If they test positive or show symptoms of the virus, they will remain in Japan. Those who are cleared will be transported to a military base in Trenton, Ontario, where they will undergo additional tests and screening before being transferred to the NAV Can quarantine site. If the individuals have symptoms in Trenton, they will not be permitted to leave Trenton for NAV Can. Only non-symptomatic evacuees will be quarantined in Cornwall, according to the information provided. They will then undergo an additional fourteen (14 days) of quarantine. The quarantine began on the Diamond Princess on Feb. 3, 2020.

In the Feb. 16th Cornwall meeting, Cornwall officials shared concerns of the plans and lack of consultation or communication. The plans to transform NAV Can into a quarantine site under the Quarantine Act are underway. Cornwall officials will share updates with Akwesasne in a joint effort to keep the public informed.

Thus far, MCA wishes to share the following and advises the public to be cautious of misinformation:

• Evacuees will be screened before they are allowed to board the flight from Japan to Canada. Anyone with symptoms will remain in Japan.
• Evacuees will be screened again upon arrival in Trenton, Ontario. If clear, they will be transported to the NAV Can quarantine site for fourteen (14) additional days.
• Those under quarantine will be tested and monitored daily and transported to a Trenton, Ontario military base if signs of the virus appear. They will not remain at NAV Can if the virus is present.
• The novel coronavirus is spread like the flu via droplets, which can include coughing in a 2 meter radius. There is no evidence it is an airborne virus.
• Cornwall will notify Akwesasne of updates as they receive them.
• MCA would like to thank Cornwall Mayor Bernadette Clement for including Akwesasne in these discussions as we work to ensure the community’s peace of mind.

MCA will share any additional updates with the community as they become available.

More information about the novel coronavirus can be read on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website: