[New Zealand Herald] Coronavirus: Counting down the seconds for reunion with wife and daughter now living in quarantine
A father whose wife and daughter have been in quarantine at a Defence Force training base in Whangaparaoa is desperately waiting to hold his 2-year-old daughter again.
Greg Kim says he is counting down the seconds to the release of his wife Lily Gao, 34, and their daughter Elysse who has been kept in isolation since arriving back on a Government-chartered flight on February 6.
"I miss them so so much, it's strange to be so near and yet so far from them," Kim said.
"Since they arrived, my highlight of the day is receiving updates on WeChat from my wife saying they're okay and pictures of my little baby."
Both were among the Kiwis evacuated from the epicentre of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan. The flight, NZ1942, brought 98 New Zealand citizens, permanent residents and 69 foreign nationals to Auckland from the Chinese city.
"They have been doing okay in the camp and there's even a little play area for Elysse to play. But for my wife, I think she is getting a little bored," Kim said.
"Lily sent me pictures of Elysse playing, and it just made me smile. I'm counting down every second to when I can hold and cuddle her again. I really miss her."
They have not received any official information but the evacuees are expected to be released on Wednesday following medical checks, Kim said.
Throughout their stay at the base, people have been asked to stay in their campervans as much as possible, even though no one had been found to be infected.
They were also told they should not talk to others for more than 15 minutes, and to do so at arms length and with a mask on.
Gao, who is now nearly four months pregnant, is also being looked after by Red Cross staff.
She keeps busy during the day by reading to Elysse, taking her to the play area and walking around the safety fence.
"Lily is not the kind that likes to be in a confined area, so even though the care is okay, I imagine it must still be terrible for her," Kim said.
"It is good news that no one in quarantine has been found to be infected, so the release procedure should be quite straightforward, I hope."
A shopping treat for little Elysse and dinner at a restaurant of Gao's choice is on the cards when they come out, he said.
Kim had travelled with the family to Wuhan on December 27 to visit Gao's family, but he returned on January 6 while Gao and Elysse remained there for Chinese New Year.
He said it had been a challenge to get them home to New Zealand.
"At first we were told they couldn't board because Lily has got family in China, but we fought to get her home because she is pregnant and remaining there is too risky," Kim said.
Gao also had to leave her home 13 hours before her flight, even though she lived only about an hour away, and had to go through multiple checkpoints to get to the airport.
"Now all that seems so long ago, and in two days we can be together as a family again," Kim added.
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