Malaysian trader stays with girlfriend in Wuhan

People wear protective masks as they head to the departure area at the Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing on January 22, 2020.

BEIJING - Although he is in a gloomy atmosphere of people dying from the Covid-19 (novel coronavirus), Chris Chan decided to remain in the outbreak epicentre of Wuhan - all because of his love for his girlfriend.

"I do not want her to face this tough time alone. I feel it is the right thing to be by her side," he said.

The 25-year-old businessman from Kuala Lumpur was among the 34 Malaysians who did not board the special flight to return home earlier this month.

A second mission is now underway for the remaining Malaysians.

The registration process for the return home has started.

It is estimated that some 100 Malaysians and their family members from Hubei province will be on board the flight, which is scheduled on Feb 24.

The details will be announced by Putrajaya soon. Chan said he would return with the group on the next flight.

"I have some business deals back home to handle," he said, adding that his family members were very worried about him.

He said his parents had been calling him daily to ensure he was fine.

Chan had arrived in Wuhan on Jan 17 to visit his Chinese girlfriend.

He was stranded there a week later after the city was put under lockdown by the authorities to stop the epidemic from spreading.

Chan has not been leaving his house for three weeks now, a far cry from the days when he only returned home after having supper with his friends.

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"I have finished reading two novels, watched dozens of movies and drama series," he said, adding that he also made use of his free time to learn to cook.

Asked how he felt to be able to stay with his girlfriend to face the difficulties together, Chan said there were both sweet and sour moments.

"We got to understand each other better but at the same time got into some arguments, which I think is quite normal," he added.

On Feb 4, a flight carrying 107 Malaysians and their family members from Wuhan arrived safely in Kuala Lumpur.

They were sent to a surveillance centre at the Higher Education Leadership Academy in Nilai, Negri Sembilan, for a mandatory 14-day quarantine.

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, visit here.