Twelve high-school students are back in Winnipeg after their stay in Japan was cut short because of COVID-19.

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This article was published 6/3/2020 (365 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Twelve high-school students are back in Winnipeg after their stay in Japan was cut short because of COVID-19.

They didn't have to be quarantined when they arrived, said Brandon Boone, spokeperson for Louis Riel School Division.

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML

"Before departing Japan, students went through government airport procedures and were cleared to fly home," he said. "They have cleared Canadian airport procedures as well."

"The students will not be entering into self-isolation unless it is required as outlined in the Public Health Agency of Canada’s guidelines," Boone said.

The government guidelines recommend all returning international travelers self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days after returning to Canada, or since their last known contact or exposure. Only travellers from the Hubei province in China and from Iran are asked to be in self-isolation following landing in Canada.

The students from seven high schools within the division were visiting Kochi in southern Japan as part of an annual exchange program for several weeks.

The Japanese government decided to close all schools nationwide from Monday through the Japanese students’ spring break, which typically ends in early April, as the novel coronavirus cases continued to mount in the country. Japan has had at least 420 confirmed COVID-19 cases and six of those who were infected with the virus have died.

Boone said the school division is following both provincial and federal guidelines for screening.

"The division is continually monitoring the information provided by the Government of Canada," he said. "(We are) working closely with Manitoba health and education representatives to stay on top of the latest information and recommendations regarding COVID-19."