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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Three projects on the North Coast awarded funding

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Hagensborg Water District purchases new fire truck; prepares for conversion to CCRD

Approximately $1.3 million of the district’s infrastructure grant has been transferred to the CCRD.

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Canadians torn on scaling back COVID-19 benefits to save money: poll

Of those surveyed, 78 per cent said they were worried about the size of the deficit

‘Trauma equals addiction’: Why some seek solace in illicit drugs

Part 2: Many pushed into addiction by ‘toxic stress,’ says White Rock psychologist

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read