‘I just want to cuddle her’: Shattered parents who flew their 18-month-old baby to China to escape Australia’s bushfire crisis ‘feel so guilty’ now the toddler is TRAPPED in Wuhan surrounded by coronavirus
- Eighteen-month-old Chloe Luo has been stuck in Hubei, China since January
- Parents Yi Zhao and Yufei Luo sent her to stay with grandparents during bushfire
- The two are pleading for their little girl to be sent back home to Canberra
A couple who sent their baby girl to China to escape the bushfire crisis are now desperately trying to bring her home after she became trapped in Hubei amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Eighteen-month-old Chloe Luo, from Canberra, has been stuck in the Chinese province since January, when her parents flew her out to stay with relatives.
The little girl was sent to stay with her grandmother in Suizhou, three hours from the city of Wuhan, after the Australian capital became blanketed by toxic bushfire smoke.
‘I sent her alone, back to my country. I just felt like it was a good thing [to get out] of a bad environment,’ her mum Yi Zhao told 9News.
Yi Zhao (left) and Yufei Luo (right) from Canberra, flew their 18-month-old daughter Chloe to China last month, in a bid to keep her safe from the bushfires
Little Chloe now remains stranded in with grandmother in Suizhou, three hours from Wuhan, after the province was place on lockdown amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak
Chloe is now among the hundreds of Australians unable to return home after the government implemented a travel ban in a bid to stop the disease from spreading.
Ms Zhao and husband Yufei Luo say they now feel ‘guilty’ for sending her abroad and have spent the last few weeks worried sick over their young daughter.
‘I just want to cuddle her, or kiss her,’ the mum said tearfully.
The parents are now asking the government to help bring Chloe home, as she was unable to fly back on an evacuation flight alone.
Foreign travellers who have recently left or passed through mainland China are currently banned from entering our shores. Pictured are visitors arriving in Brisbane before the ban was implemented.
The tourism industry is paying a heavy price from Australia’s temporary ban on Chinese travellers, which will likely be extended later this week
So far, over 300 Australians have been evacuated from the epicentre of the disease following an emergency evacuation efforts via airplane.
However, Foreign Minister Marise Payne announced on Wednesday the government was not ‘considering a third flight at this time.’
She also confirmed Chloe does not fall under those ‘vulnerable’ Australians who are being given priority.
‘Our effort has been to try to keep families together where possible. What we’ve been able to do is to assist those Australians to leave Wuhan who are cleared for departure by Chinese travel authorities,’ she said in a press conference.
‘That does not include family members of Australian children who are Chinese nationals and who are not Australian permanent residents.’
Ms Payne suggested the best thing for Chloe would be to remain in the care of her family in China, until it is safe for her to travel home.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Greg Hunt warned the travel ban will likely be extended as the worldwide death toll surpassed 1,000.
‘We expect it will continue. We’re not putting a timeframe on it,’ the minister told The Australian.
Mr Hunt added the government acted on the best medical advice to implement the ban.
‘Ultimately, our job … our responsibility, is to provide protection and national health security for the Australian people,’ he said.
‘They’ve been difficult decisions but made on the basis of the medical advice and we’ll implement the medical advice.’
Australia currently has 15 confirmed cases of coronavirus while four Australians are among 65 newly-confirmed cases aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama in Japan.
The federal government also admits the ban has taken a toll on the tourism industry, which is losing an estimated $1billion a week.
Qantas this week also enforced the temporary suspension of its two direct services to mainland China until March 28.
AUSTRALIANS WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
NEW SOUTH WALES: 4
- Three men aged 43, 53, and 35 who had recently travelled to China are confirmed to have contracted the disease.
- Two flew in from Wuhan while the other arrived in Sydney from Shenzhen, south China.
- They are being treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital and are in stable condition.
- A 21-year-old woman is identified as the fourth person to test positive for the illness in NSW.
- The woman, a student at UNSW, flew into Sydney International Airport on flight MU749 on January 23 and presented to the emergency department 24 hours later after developing flu-like symptoms.
- She is being treated in isolation at Westmead Hospital.
- A Chinese national aged in his 50s becomes the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in Australia.
- The man flew to Melbourne on China Southern flight CZ321 from Wuhan via Guangzhou on January 19.
- He is now in quarantined isolation at Monash Hospital in Clayton in Melbourne’s east.
- A Victorian man in his 60s is diagnosed with the coronavirus.
- He became unwell on January 23 – two days after returning from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
- The man was confirmed as positive on January 29 and was subsequently seen by doctors at the Monash Medical Centre. He was assessed as being well enough to stay at home.
- A woman in her 40s is found to have coronavirus.
- She was visiting from China and mostly spent time with her family.
- She is being treated at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
- A woman in her 20s in Melbourne is found to have the virus
- Queensland confirms its first case after a 44-year-old Chinese national wass diagnosed with the virus.
- He is being treated at Gold Coast University Hospital.
- A 42-year-old Chinese woman who was travelling in the same Wuhan tour group as the 44-year-old man tests positive. She is in Gold Coast University Hospital in stable condition.
- An eight-year-old boy has been diagnosed coronavirus. He is also from the tour group where the other Queensland cases came from
- The case was found in a 37-year-old man, who was a member of a group of nine Chinese tourists in quarantine on the Gold Coast
- A 37-year-old woman has been diagnosed with coronavirus from the same travel group that flew to Queensland from Melbourne on January 27
SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 2
- A Chinese couple in their 60s who arrived in Adelaide from Wuhan to visit relatives are confirmed to have coronavirus.
- Two Australians have been confirmed as having the virus in Wuhan itself. Australia has raised the travel alert level to ‘do not travel’ for the city of Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – and for the entire Hubei province.
- Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy says unless people have contact with someone who is unwell and has come from that part of China, there is no need for current concern.
- Four Australians are among 65 newly-confirmed coronavirus cases aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship docked at Yokohama.