A Port Coquitlam, B.C., woman whose daughter is trapped in Wuhan due to a deadly coronavirus is calling on the Canadian government to evacuate its citizens from China.
Lily Liu says her 33-year-old daughter travelled to the city on Jan. 10 to visit family, including Liu’s parents and ex-husband, which she has done before.
But Liu started to get concerned after the Chinese government started cancelling some transportation on Monday, when the effects of the coronavirus began to spread through the city and the surrounding province.
“I was worried if the travel is cancelled, there will be more transportation cancelled,” she said Saturday.
On Thursday — four days before Liu’s daughter was set to leave Wuhan after changing her flight — those fears were founded when Beijing announced all transportation was closed in and out of Wuhan, effectively placing the city on lockdown.
While her daughter is healthy so far, Liu is growing increasingly anxious as she watches the virus spread and claim more people.
“Every day there’s more death toll,” she said. “I just feel my daughter is in a very dangerous situation and we are helpless. If Canadian government can do anything, I don’t know. She’s my only daughter.
“I just don’t know what to do.”
At least 41 people have died since the start of the outbreak, which has made over 1,300 people sick in China alone. The vast majority of the cases and deaths have been in the Hubei province, where Wuhan is the capital.
Sixteen surrounding cities have also been placed on lockdown, with the Chinese military blocking access to roads, train stations and airports.
The virus has also spread to 11 other countries, including Australia, France and the U.S., where two cases have been confirmed.
In Canada, the first presumptive case was announced Saturday in Toronto.
Health officials in B.C. say they are closely monitoring that case, but said there are still no confirmed cases in the province. No cases have been confirmed in other provinces or territories.
While the U.S. and other countries have announced plans to evacuate citizens and diplomats from China, Canada has yet to make a similar announcement.
Liu says that needs to change immediately.
“That’s the only hope my daughter can get out of the city,” she said. “Right now there’s no hope to get out of there. And the situation is very dangerous there.”
Liu says she has contacted the Canadian embassy in China and Peter Julien, the NDP MP for New Westminster-Burnaby. But she says every response has been the same.
“I’m just so frustrated,” she said. “Every Canadian embassy and government, the reply is just that they don’t have plans and to follow local instructions.”
Efforts to ask for help from U.S. officials have also run into dead ends, with the country telling Liu’s family that only Canada can make the decision to extract its citizens.
As she waits for word that her daughter can finally return home, Liu says the Canadian government needs to act soon.
“The situation is really bad, we need help,” she said. “They need to take action like other countries. … That’s the only hope for their citizens. Otherwise their lives are in danger.
“I can’t imagine a worse thing that could happen to me than not seeing my daughter.”
— With files from Nadia Stewart and the Associated Press