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

Colwood eyes upgrades to recreation area near Lookout Lake Dam

Upgrades to dam estimated to be complete before end of year

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

French fries to juicy tomatoes, rock art brings joy to walkers in Victoria

James Bay yard filled with painted rocks delights all ages

‘Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

South Island Prosperity Project launches new dashboard to measure effects of COVID-19

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read