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 Transit 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 new 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 Transit 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 captainreportedly sought further advice from Medlink, a company specializing in aviation medical issues, Mirror reports.
Canadian couple Emmanuel Faug (left) and Clémentine Ferraton (right) were told by a doctor that their 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 Transit spokesperson said: ‘After analysing 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 Transit customer service personnel.
Ferraton told TVA Nouvelles that Air Transit’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
Air Transit 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 Transit 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
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.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is still the chairman of the coronavirus, despite Pence’s new assignment.
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
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.