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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 6, 2020
Montague native Monte Gisborne was overcome with emotion when he looked down at his phone and saw a picture of his wife and stepdaughter.
Daniela had taken a selfie with her daughter, Dominica, on board a plane that had just lifted off from Wuhan on Monday.
Gisborne knew the Canadian government was trying to get them out and that they had been placed on the manifest for the flight, but because people can be turned away at any of the checkpoints along the way, he didn’t know their fate.
“I feel jubilant,’’ Gisborne told The Guardian from his home in Vancouver. “I’m just excited for the girls. That (picture on the plane) was the only verification I had that they were coming home."
China’s government continues to struggle to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 1,000 people and infected close to 45,000 people.
Daniela and Dominica went over to Wuhan on Jan. 17 to visit family and celebrate the Chinese new year. They arrived in China on Jan. 19 and were to return to Canada on Feb. 15 but not long after they landed in China, Daniela realized how serious the situation was becoming with the coronavirus outbreak.
Daniela immediately exchanged her plane tickets for a return flight on Jan. 28 but, by then, the Chinese government had shut everything down. Daniela and her daughter were forced to spend the entire visit stuck at Daniela’s parents 1,000-square-foot apartment.
Daniela and Dominica are currently at CFB Trenton in Ontario where they are under a two-week quarantine.
“I can’t go see them, (but) we’ve been on video chats a lot and they’re in good spirits. They were never sick and they still feel fine, so it’s all good. It’s been an ordeal, and I’m just glad the ordeal is over.’’
Just the facts
Following are some facts about the coronavirus outbreak in China
- At least 1,110 people have died as a result of the virus.
- It has infected close to 45,000 people.
- The Department of Health and Wellness on P.E.I. says no Islanders have yet tested positive for the virus.
Gisborne said his wife paints a grim picture of what is taking place in Wuhan.
“It’s not a pretty picture over there,’’ he said. “I don’t know if the Chinese government is doing the right thing to fix it. I hope in the future we’ll have modelled this better and figure out how to control it better and put a better plan in place.’’
Gisborne said he was in constant contact with a high-ranking official inside the Canadian government who apologized for the lack of communication in those early days. He was assured government was doing its best to get his family home. Daniela and Dominica are permanent Canadian citizens.
Gisborne said Dominica handled the entire ordeal about as well as anyone could.
“She is a very spirited kid and she remained spirited. She (had the attitude) that it was an adventure, a fun thing the whole way through.’’
It was harder on his wife.
“My wife’s disposition . . . slowly sunk into a state of despair, especially as the situation worsened. Every night in China they couldn’t sleep because all they could hear out their window were the sirens. Imagine hearing that all night long and thinking, ‘When's it my turn?’ or ‘When are they coming to get me or grandma’?’’
Gisborne said once the quarantine is over at CFB Trenton, he’ll make arrangements to have his family flown back to Vancouver where they will reunite at the airport.
The family will return to Charlottetown this summer to operate their Chinese Junk Boat tour business at Peakes Quay Marina.