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San Diego father fighting to help his family return from coronavirus zone

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Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-31 21:28:06-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego man is fighting to get his wife and children back home from China as the deadly coronavirus continues to spread.

Ken Burnett is worried his wife, Yanjun Wei, 3-year-old son Rowan, and 1-year-old daughter Mia will be stuck in Wuhan, China for months.

"They're just stuck there," he said. "They just stay inside all day, every day."

He said they left for China in November to visit Wei's parents and hoped to stay to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Instead festivities were canceled and all means of transportation were cut off.

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"Flights, trains, public transportation, ride sharing," he explained.

The family is spending its time inside of an apartment, with fears of going outdoors.

"They don't go outside at all," said Burnett. "Her mom did venture out to try to get some supplies, some food, said the markets are empty of fresh vegetables and we got the last milk."

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Burnett said when they first started hearing of the virus they didn't think it would develop into what it is today.

"Last week we heard of the sudden increase in cases, got kind of nervous and wanted to return home sooner," he said.

Unfortunately the family has not been able to secure a flight home. Burnett said his two children are U.S. citizens and his wife is a legal permanent resident of the U.S. on her way to becoming a citizen.

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"She was preparing, studying for her citizenship test in just three weeks," he said.

They have contacted the U.S. State Department and U.S. Embassy of Beijing for help returning home, but so far no luck.

Senator Kamala Harris's office is also involved in trying to help. Burnett said he is growing frustrated at the response they've received.

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"They just sent a letter that was a flat out lie," he said, referring to the U.S. Embassy. "They said they had been in continuous contact with my wife throughout the week, flat out lie. They have not contacted us individually by phone call, email or anything since this started and we've been trying for eight days."

The U.S. Embassy said it is working on assisting families trying to leave Wuhan and return to the U.S.