Expat couple trapped in Wuhan arrange their own funerals

Published:  28 Jan at 6 PM
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As China’s coronavirus speeds up its spread, British expats are making funeral plans just in case.

British expats still trapped in Wuhan are taking the threat of the raging virus seriously enough to plan their own funerals. One Canadian teacher at the city’s Weiming International High School fears the local government is making light of the crisis rather than giving out accurate information enabling those still resident to make the right decisions.

Wayne Duplessis, his wife Emily, their 15-year old son Wyatt and their son Adrian, also a teacher in the city, are living in fear that they’ll not be able to be evacuated in time to save their lives. The couple are so concerned about becoming infected that they’ve made arrangements for their own funerals, saying their daughter now living in Indonesia can take care of things should the worst happen. Another expat student studying at Hubei University of Science and Technology told the media the city of 11 million people is now eerily quiet, with almost no-one on the streets. Chain stores including Walmart are still open, but everything else is closed and shuttered.

Around 200 British expats trapped in the city now have hope that an evacuation may be possible, as the British Foreign Secretary has asked the city authority if an airlift could be arranged on the condition that those involved stayed elsewhere in China until they were cleared of any infection. Increasing pressure is being placed on the British government to get their people out of there before it’s too late. Even so, at present it seems the Chinese authorities are blocking any movement by the UK to repatriate their citizens.

At the same time, France is pressuring the Chinese to allow expats working at the PSA car plant to be airlifted to safety. According to a recent report, the Chinese authorities are fully cooperating with the company and the French Consul General, with the numbers of staff members and their families pegged at 38. If the airlift is permitted, those rescued will spend time in Changsha City some 180 miles from Wuhan until they’re cleared as regards infection. France’s first victims are now confirmed whilst other arrivals are still being monitored.
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