'I feel so guilty': Parents' agony over toddler in coronavirus central
The parents pleading with the Australian government to rescue their toddler daughter from a coronavirus epicentre have spoken about their ongoing agony.
Canberra 18-month-old Chloe Luo is trapped in the Chinese province of Hubei after her parents sent her there to stay with relatives during the bushfire crisis to escape the capital's dismal air quality.
But now the province is in lockdown, and the little girl can't get home.
"I just feel so guilty. I shouldn't have sent her back," mum Yi Zhao said.
"I just want to cuddle her, or kiss her."
Dad Yufei Luo said he had barely been able to sleep for weeks due to the worry.
"It is very hard," he said.
Chloe was being looked after by her grandmother who was hospitalised last week with a cold, unrelated to coronavirus, leaving the toddler with her great-aunt.
Her parents, Yufei Luo and Yi Zhao, said they were willing to fly into Suizhou just three hours from Wuhan, to bring their daughter home.
However the Australian government said it is not planning on organising a third evacuation flight for citizens remaining in Wuhan and Hubei.
In a press conference today, Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne said the child did not qualify as a priority for the Australian Government.
"I think it is important to remember that our focus on assisted departures carried out so far have been on vulnerable Australians," said Minister Payne.
"Our effort has been to try to keep families together where possible. What we've been able to do is to assist those Australians to leave Wuhan who are cleared for departure by Chinese travel authorities.
"That does not include family members of Australian children who are Chinese nationals and who are not Australian permanent residents.
"In that case, it makes it very complex, where a child is unaccompanied for an entire journey to Australia, potentially for a period of quarantine, and our strong advice is that children in this situation are best to remain in the care of their families, in Wuhan or in Hubei Province, while China's travel restrictions are in place."
The latest on the coronavirus crisis
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Australia remains at 15 with no deaths reported so far.
Four Australians who initially tested positive for the virus in Victoria, have recovered and remain in home isolation.
The government has been able to evacuate 538 Australian on two flights from Wuhan who are not quarantined in either Darwin or Christmas Island.
More than 45,000 people worldwide have contracted the virus and 1,115 have died, mostly in the Hubei province.