Family thrown off flight after passengers complain that their daughter could have coronavirus


A Canadian family flying to France was thrown off a plane after passengers complained that their coughing toddler could be infected with the deadly coronavirus

Emmanuel Faug, his wife Clémentine Ferraton and their three children boarded an Air Transat flight from Quebec City to Paris for a family celebration on February 23. 

Their 21-month-old daughter, Lila, was also brought along for the trip despite having symptoms of the common cold and coughing. 

According to Ouest-France, concerned passengers began complaining to the flight crew before takeoff that the child could be infected with the coronavirus.

A flight attendant approached the couple and asked Ferraton if she could provide a medical document proving that their daughter was not contagious. 

Air Transat has received backlash after telling a Canadian family to exit the plane after passengers complained that their coughing toddler could have coronavirus

Air Transat has received backlash after telling a Canadian family to exit the plane after passengers complained that their coughing toddler could have coronavirus

She assured the flight attendant that the child was safe to travel and it had been confirmed by a doctor the morning of the trip.

However, the couple was not able to provide a written document about their daughter’s health. 

A doctor aboard the plane also took time to examine the child and determined that Lila’s health was not a problem, but this was not enough. 

The captain reportedly sought further advice from Medlink, a company specializing in aviation medical issues, Mirror reports. 

Pictured: Emmanuel Faug

Pictured: Clémentine Ferraton

Canadian couple Emmanuel Faug (left) and Clémentine Ferraton (right) were told by a doctor that their sick 21-month-old daughter was safe to travel, but the flight crew thought otherwise 

The company advised that the child be removed since they did not have verification. 

In a statement, a Air Transat spokesperson said: ‘After analyzing the situation, MedLink determined that the passenger’s medical condition posed a significant potential risk to passengers and crew during the flight’.

‘They [MedLink] follow the recommendations of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regarding contagious diseases’. 

The family was asked to leave the plane and were escorted off the flight without an opportunity to speak with any Air Transat customer service personnel. 

Ferraton told TVA Nouvelles that Air Transat’s reaction was overboard. 

‘At no time did I think I was putting people in danger by taking my child on a plane. I think this is overkill,’ she said. 

Faug said that on several occasions, while speaking with a chief steward, that she referenced the ‘current context’.

He believes they was alluding to the coronavirus, COVID-19, and that they were dismissed to avoid controversy. 

‘I think that’s where his fears came from. I can understand it in a way, but I found it a bit excessive. I have the impression that she was amalgamating and zealous,’ he said.

‘I feel like I was kicked out of a plane to avoid a scandal’.

The couple said they feel they were escorted off the plane to avoid a scandal about coronavirus, which has infected more than 82,000 people worldwide

The couple said they feel they were escorted off the plane to avoid a scandal about coronavirus, which has infected more than 82,000 people worldwide 

Air Transat has since denied kicking off the family due to increasing panic surrounding coronavirus and that they simply followed protocol. 

‘The only case where a passenger, showing obvious signs of a contagious disease, could be accepted on board, would be when the latter provides the appropriate documentation, completed by a qualified doctor,’ the company said. 

The family has filed a complaint against Air Transat and request compensation for their forcibly cancelled flight. 

Health officials across the globe are working to stop the spread of coronavirus, which appeared in the Hubei province in Wuhan, China, in late December. 

As of Thursday, coronavirus has infected at more than 82,000 people worldwide in every continent except Antarctica and killed at least 2,809 people.

Although the majority of deaths have occurred in China, at least 11 have been reported in other countries. 

There are 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and Canada, including 10 in California and seven in British Columbia

There are 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and Canada, including 10 in California and seven in British Columbia

South Korea now has more than 1,700 cases, Italy has 528 cases and Iran has 254 cases. 

In the United States, there are 60 confirmed coronavirus cases with no deaths as of yet. 

It was announced on Wednesday that President Donald Trump has appointed Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the coronavirus response. 

‘Mike will be working with the professionals, doctors and everybody else that is working. The team is brilliant. I spent a lot of time with the team the last couple weeks,’ Trump said.

‘But they are brilliant and we’re doing really well and Mike is going to be in charge and Mike will report back to me. But he has a certain talent for this,’ he added. 

Several Democratic politicians blasted Pence’s position, with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez saying he ‘literally doesn’t believe in science’ and Bernie Sander noting that Pence allegedly tried to ‘pray away’ an HIV epidemic. 

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump (center) assigned Vice President Mike Pence (right) to oversee the White House's response to coronavirus

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump (center) assigned Vice President Mike Pence (right) to oversee the White House’s response to coronavirus 

Pictured: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Pictured: Bernie Sanders

Democratic politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) and Bernie Sanders (right) have criticized Pence’s appointment 

In California, the first person who contracted coronavirus from an unknown source has been reported after the CDC took four days to test the patient.  

Officials said the patient is being treated at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.

The patient, who is a resident of Solano County, was admitted into the hospital on February 19.

But questions are now being asked over the CDC’s handling of the case after an email from medical center officials to employees revealed that the CDC took four days to test the patient for the deadly disease despite requests from staff at the center.

The leaked memo also suggested medical center staff may have been unnecessarily put at risk after some have now been told to go into isolation and watch for symptoms.

According to the email, the CDC didn’t test the patient, who has not been identified, for coronavirus until February 23.

According to the internal memo from UC Davis Medical Center obtained by CBS13, the patient was transferred from another Northern California hospital on February 19 and was already intubated and on a ventilator.

However, despite requests from medical center officials for the CDC to test the unknown individual, the patient was only tested for coronavirus on Sunday – four days after they were admitted to the hospital – because ‘the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19’, the email said.

The first person diagnosed with coronavirus without a known source has been reported in California this week

The first person diagnosed with coronavirus without a known source has been reported in California this week

The email from David Lubarsky, vice-chancellor of human health services, and Brad Simmons, interim CEO of UC Davis Medical Center, to the center employees confirmed that the test had come back positive Wednesday.

‘Upon admission, our team asked public health officials if this case could be COVID-19. We requested COVID-19 testing by the CDC, since neither Sacramento County nor (the California Department of Public Health) is doing testing for coronavirus at this time. Since the patient did not fit the existing CDC criteria for COVID-19, a test was not immediately administered,’ said the email, which added that, ‘UC Davis Health does not control the testing process’.

The hospital has been treating one other confirmed case of coronavirus, though the other patient contracted the disease through travel after returning to the US from China on February 2.

‘This is not the first COVID-19 patient we have treated, and because of the precautions we have had in place since this patient’s arrival, we believe there has been minimal potential for exposure here at UC Davis Medical Center,’ the email said.

However, the email said some staff members had been warned to go into isolation and to stay vigilant to any developing symptoms.

Medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, walk at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in China

Medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of a deadly virus which began in the city, walk at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital in China

‘A small number of medical center employees have been asked to stay home and monitor their temperatures,’ the email said.

The CDC confirmed that the person had not recently returned from a foreign country, and had not been in contact with another confirmed case.

News of the first case where a patient has no known connection to travel abroad or to another known case has raised concerns over how the disease could spread across America.

A statement from CDC confirmed the first possible instance of ‘community spread’ in the US Wednesday evening.

‘At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown. It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown,’ the statement said.

The CDC did not rule out that the patient may have been in contact with an infected individual who is yet to be diagnosed or linked to the individual.

‘It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected,’ the statement said.

Pictured: Staff from the U.S. embassy walk in a cargo plane, chartered by the U.S. State Department to evacuate Americans and Canadians from China due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus

Pictured: Staff from the U.S. embassy walk in a cargo plane, chartered by the U.S. State Department to evacuate Americans and Canadians from China due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus

‘This case was detected through the US public health system — picked up by astute clinicians. This brings the total number of COVID-19 cases in the United States to 15.’

Officials said they will be tracing the infected individual’s contacts to see how they may have been infected and if any other individuals may be at risk.

A chief doctor at the medical center refuted Trump’s claims that the US is ‘ready’ for an outbreak and sent a stark warning that the local Californian community is not prepared.

‘We don’t have that much data, so we don’t really know how many symptomatic, or asymptomatic patients there are in the community right now. The testing is very limited. We would like to have more widespread testing so we know where this virus is — who’s sick and who is at risk,’ Dr Dean Blumberg, the Chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the UC Davis Children’s Hospital, told CBS Sacramento.

Blumberg said that if community transmission is confirmed, there could be many more cases out there.

‘We only have this one confirmed case of community transmission, but it suggests that we don’t know where they got it from, so the person who exposed them, so there’s probably other cases in the community that we don’t know about,’ Blumberg said.



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