15-month-old Chloe Fabic is seen in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Richard Fabic

Ontario dad misses milestone as daughter, stuck in China’s coronavirus epicentre, takes first steps

Richard Fabic wants to get his 15-month-old out of Wuhan

An Ontario father says he missed his 15-month-old daughter’s first steps because she is stuck in the Chinese city at the centre of a new coronavirus outbreak.

Richard Fabic is hoping to get the Canadian government’s assistance so he can be reunited soon with his daughter, Chloe, he said in a telephone interview on Thursday from his home in Mississauga.

“We are very worried,” he said. “Very concerned.”

Wuhan has been essentially sealed off from the outside world as China tries to contain the respiratory virus, which has the symptoms of a common cold, but can be deadly in severe cases

Canada announced this week that it is preparing to fly a plane to Wuhan to get Canadians out.

Canada’s top foreign-affairs official told a House of Commons committee Thursday that 156 Canadians have asked for help to leave. Marta Morgan, deputy minister of foreign affairs, said Canada is still working to get Chinese approval to send a chartered plane to collect them.

“We’re a bit frustrated but also … we’re hopeful again that we will be able to see our daughter,” Fabic said.

In December, Fabic’s wife, Yunfei Li, accepted a job in Victoria and the family decided to move to B.C. from Ontario, he said.

Fabic, Li and Chloe — all Canadian citizens — and Chloe’s grandparents, permanent Canadian residents, were to “be one big happy family” living in Victoria, he said.

The couple decided that Fabic would pack up the Ontario home, while Li would find a place in Victoria.

“But during this time period, it’s tough to take care of a 15-month-old baby as well, and so my in-laws were planning to go to China anyway,” he said.

“We figured it would be a perfect time for Chloe to connect with the family that she had in China, celebrate the Chinese New Year and arrive in Victoria to a well-settled place.”

Fabic stayed behind while the rest of the family went to China at the beginning of December. Li returned to Canada in the third week.

About a week after that, word of the new virus surfaced, he said.

“No one was concerned in the Wuhan area, so I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I certainly kick myself now.”

Fabic said he realized that he needed to get Chloe and her grandparents out as the city was being sealed off.

“We had organized a flight by the next day but the flights were already stopped.”

That’s when he started reaching out to the Canadian government.

READ MORE: MP raises concern about Langley family stuck in Wuhan

He’s not the only one who wants to see his loved ones out.

British expat Tom Williams and his Canadian wife, Lauren, have been asking for help to leave with their 2 1/2-year-old Canadian son James. Lauren is 35 weeks pregnant.

They said Thursday they were at the Wuhan airport ready to fly to Britain on Friday morning.

“We’re really relieved,” Williams said. “We have to get through quite a few security and health screenings first, but the British flight is due to take off at 5 a.m. Beijing time.”

The family expect to be in quarantine in the U.K. for two weeks, but he said it could be longer.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Coronavirus

Just Posted

First presumptive case of coronavirus identified in the Interior Health region

The woman, in her 30s, travelled from Shanghai and lives in the interior

Robbery with a hammer at Invermere Dairy Queen

Robber makes off with undisclosed amount of cash.

Talking valley politics

Local politicians offered an update on their communities and progess.

Who should own James Chabot park?

Invermere asks for James Chabot park back from province

January precipitation deepens snowpack in B.C.’s mountains

Most of the province now has higher-than-normal snowpack levels

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Canadian nurses’ unions warn national standards for coronavirus protection too low

President says safety protocols nationwide are inadequate compared to those in Ontario and other countries

Most Read