Chinese man claim he faces serious risk of harm from coronavirus if deported from Canada

A Chinese man has argued — unsuccessfully — that he shouldn’t be deported from Canada because he faced a serious risk of harm from the novel coronavirus in his native country.

Toronto resident Ruepang Cao, 36, had come to Canada in 2004 seeking asylum.

In an affidavit, he said he was “scared and anxious for my life” after his asylum claim was rejected and he was ordered out of the country “straight into a plague of a deadly virus which still rages.”

Under Canadian law, deportation is often blocked if a court finds there’s a big risk of harm for an individual sent to a specific destination.

Canada already halted deportations to the Chinese city of Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province — the epicenter of the epidemic — but to not other parts of China.

In court last week, government lawyers argued — and also the judge agreed — that the danger of infection in Guangdong, where Cao was headed, was low.

“The evidence, like this, shows that infection and mortality rates in many parts of China are low,” Justice Robert Barnes said in his decision.

“For the overwhelming majority of individuals who have come down with the virus the outlook is positive. The risk, therefore, doesn’t appear to be much, if any, greater than the danger of coming down with another viral illness, many of which also carry a mortality risk.”

The Canada Border Services Agency wouldn’t say if Cao had been deported as scheduled, citing privacy laws, but his lawyer told AFP he believed Cao had been placed on a flight to China.