Parents' regret after Aussie toddler ends up stranded in coronavirus epicentre

A Canberra toddler is trapped in the epicentre of the coronavirus after her parents sent her to stay with family amid Australia’s recent bushfire crisis.

Chloe’s parents made the decision to send her to Hubei so she could escape the bushfire smoke in January, 9News reported.

Now the 18-month-old girl is in the province which is currently under lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

Chloe's parents sent her to China to escape the smoke during the recent bushfires in Australia. Source: Nine News

“I sent her alone, back to my country,” Chloe’s tearful mother Yi Zhao, known as Joy, told 9News, adding she thought it was a “good thing” at the time to get her out of the “bad environment”.

“I just feel so guilty, I shouldn’t have sent her back.”

Chloe’s father, who claims he has not been able to sleep in recent weeks, explained although some Australians in the province were able to evacuate, she was unable to.

“She’s too young to travel by herself,” he said.

The problem is Ms Zhao’s family in China cannot travel with her back to Australia as they are not Australian citizens.

Now the little girl’s parents are asking for the federal government’s help.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Saturday foreign nationals would be banned from travelling to Australia from mainland China as officials try to contain the spread of the deadly disease.

So far, 540 Australians have been airlifted from the Chinese province of Hubei – the epicentre of the virus – and quarantined on Christmas Island and a worker camp near Darwin.

The 18-month-old's parents are unable to get her as the province is on lockdown and she is too young to travel back to Australia on her own. Source: Nine News

While Hubei is in lockdown, the Australian government is advising Australians to not travel to China.

The Australian government has previously assisted getting Australian citizens out of China, but Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne stated the government did not intend to organise a third evacuation flight.

“We are not considering a third flight at this time,” she said.

“We have consistently indicated, as I said, that we would prioritise those very vulnerable and isolated Australians, and we've assisted those people and family groups who meet those definitions for whom we are able to achieve travel clearance from Chinese authorities.”

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