Montreal family stuck in China will be able to go home, but must leave father behind

"The good news is that now we know there is a plan to evacuate," she said. "The bad news is that my husband who is a permanent resident of Canada, but not a citizen, will not be part of the evacuation."

Megan Millward and her children are Canadian, but her husband Lie Zhang has a Chinese passport

Lie Zhang, left, his wife Megan Millward and two children are in China's Hubei province. Its capital city, Wuhan, is the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. (Submitted by Megan Millward)

Montrealer Megan Millward was relieved to hear that the Canadian government has a plan to repatriate her family from the coronavirus quarantine zone where they are trapped, in a small town an hour outside Wuhan, China.

Less so when she was told it would just be herself and her children getting on the plane.

"The good news is that now we know there is a plan to evacuate," she told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. "The bad news is that my husband, who is a permanent resident of Canada, but not a citizen, will not be part of the evacuation."

Millward and her husband Lie Zhang were travelling with their two children to China to spend the Lunar New Year with Zhang's family in the countryside of Hubei province.

They are among the 250 Canadians who are stuck in the coronavirus-affected region of China due to containment measures like roadblocks and cancelled flights.

They arrived in Shanghai on Jan. 18, went to Wuhan on Jan. 20, then travelled to the countryside two days later, just before the city was put under lockdown.

Millward said that she received a call from the consulate in Shanghai last night confirming that Canada would be sending a charter plane to repatriate Canadian citizens.

"What I was told is that it's the Chinese government who determines who counts as a foreign citizen," she said. "Because my husband has a Chinese passport, he is a Chinese national and would not be allowed to leave."

She said they are currently staying in a small village outside of Wuhan, and while they aren't likely to run out of food, there is no indoor plumbing and no access to medical services.

Millward is concerned about leaving her husband behind in the quarantine zone, even though so far no one in the village has contracted the disease.

"I would rather that he's not stuck in an area that is full of people who are sick with this virus," she said. 

Watch Megan Millward explain her family's situation:

But Millward has her six-year-old daughter and nearly two-year-old son to think about.

"If there's a way to get the kids out, we have to do it," she said.

She's also nervous about how the family will be able to get to the airport in Wuhan.

Even if her husband was able to drive them through the roadblocks, there's no guarantee he could get back to the village.

Millward feels that leaving her husband in the city would be even more dangerous.

"I really would rather he could come home with us," she said.

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak


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