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

Black History Month: Documentary sheds light on black pioneers’ role in Victoria

Secret Victoria: Rush to Freedom looks at how a mass migration shaped the capital

Saanich teen serious lawn bowler

Chambers will compete in an international tournament in Australia

Hundreds of wax figures find new life in Saanich man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

Most Read