Canadian mum desperate to be reunited with toddler stranded in China's coronavirus epicentre

A pedestrian wears a protective mask in Toronto, Canada (Picture: AP)

A mum is desperately hoping her two-year-old daughter will be able to fly home to Canada soon after her husband contracted the coronavirus while they were visiting China.

Amelia Pan’s daughter Cerena is stranded in Hubei province, epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, being cared for by a relative after her dad Wei Ye and grand-parents fell ill.

Ye had flown to Yingshan, near Wuhan, on January 17 to be with his ill father, who later died from coronavirus, taking his daughter with him while Pan stayed behind in Richmond, British Columbia.

At the time, the family had heard of the infection but did not understand the danger it posed. 

A man wears a mask following the outbreak of a new virus as people arrive from the International terminal at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Toronto (Picture: AP)

By January 26 Pan received word that her father-in-law was infected with the coronavirus. 

Soon after, it was confirmed Pan’s husband and mother-in-law had the illness and they were hospitalised.

Cerena was left in the care of a neighbour but because she was deemed an infection risk, she was put in hospital. 

Fortunately, test results came back negative on Saturday. 

If her temperature stays normal, she should be discharged over the weekend, her mother said.

A plane carrying Canadians back Wuhan, China, lands at CFB Trenton, in Trenton, Canada Friday, on February 7 (Picture: AP)

“I am just hanging in there,” Pan, a Canadian citizen originally from China, said in a Skype interview. 

“I need to stay strong so I can fight for my family.”

Pan has been scrambling to get her daughter on to an evacuation flight back to Canada, but it has been complicated.

Cerena’s father has contracted the virus so he cannot accompany her home on the flight.

Factbox: Latest on the coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

  • The death toll in mainland China rose to 722 on Saturday, up by 86 from the previous day, Chinese authorities said.

  • The virus infected five British nationals staying in the same chalet at a ski resort in Savoie in southeastern France, the French health minister said.

  • A Chinese doctor who issued an early warning about the virus outbreak before it was officially recognised died of the virus on Friday.

  • The virus has spread to 27 countries and regions, according to a Reuters count based on official reports, infecting more than 330 people.

  • There have been two deaths outside mainland China, in Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Cerena is in a Chinese hospital, separated from her father and being looked after by one of his cousins.

Pan said she is in touch with the Canadian authorities to get her daughter, a Canadian citizen, on to an evacuation flight and is seeking someone willing to accompany her on a plane that is supposed to leave on Monday.


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If this plan works out, Pan will be flying to Trenton, Ontario, to stay in quarantine with her daughter.

The coronavirus death toll in mainland China rose by 86 to 722 on Saturday, according to authorities, and is likely to pass the 774 deaths recorded globally during the 2002-2003 outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).