Ottawa family reunites, returns home after 2-week quarantine

An Ottawa man says it's good to be free after he and his mother spent the last two weeks in quarantine in Trenton, Ont. 

"We can do whatever we want," Kai Huang said on his drive home Friday. "I feel very happy."

Huang and his 78-year-old mother, Yi, were among 200 people confined to dorm-like lodging at CFB Trenton after being airlifted from Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the country's coronavirus outbreak.

The city was placed in lockdown in late January.

While Huang is a Canadian citizen, it initially looked like his mother, a permanent resident, wouldn't be able to board either of the two flights Ottawa sent to the city of 11 million. 

In the end, however, both received a letter from Canada's embassy in China granting passage on a U.S.-chartered flight. 

"She really appreciates, from her heart, the [Canadian] government," said Huang, acting as the translator for his mother.

"Because if she lives in China right now, probably she [would have] died. The government rescued her."  

Tried to keep busy

While in quarantine, Huang said he read the news and went for walks. He also wrote a letter of appreciation for the staff at CFB Trenton. 

The group of evacuees at the military base have raised more than $35,000 for the Canadian Red Cross.

Alex Filipe/Reuters

When Huang first saw his wife, Bingli Liu, after leaving quarantine, he said there were too many people around to hug her in the parking lot. 

Liu said she's had to care for the couple's two children by herself for the past two weeks.

She's already set up a few chores for her husband. 

"Shovelling and all that. Outside work, that's all what Kai did."

Beyond an impending return to snow shovelling, Huang said he was overjoyed to simply be with his family again. 

"I can see my son, my daughter and my wife," he said. "That's the most exciting thing."