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Local family concerned about loved ones in China amid coronavirus outbreak

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – A local family is pleading for help to get their loved ones out from the near-center of the coronavirus outbreak.

Gay Forston spoke with News 3 at her coffee shop on Wilmington Island. It’s a long way from China where her second cousin Nick Turner, is essentially stranded with his family because his Chinese born wife cannot leave the country.

And the issue is the coronavirus is getting closer.

“His concerns are that pretty soon that everything is shut down and they will run out of supplies,” said Forston. “There are people in that area that are becoming infected and they’re at the point now that they’re desperate.”

She said Turner grew up in Pooler and went to China about three years ago to practice Chinese. There, he met his wife Dong Lei who is a dancer.

Fortson says that Turner keeps in contact with local extended family members through group text messages.

“But they need to be safe right now and it’s not safe,” she told News 3.

Nick Turner, pictured right (photo provided by family)

Turner posted on social media that his wife needs a visa to travel to the U.S. from Zhengzhou, China, but that the process often takes months.

He said his child is a U.S. citizen but that he could not foresee leaving his wife alone in China.

“The baby’s just so adorable and it’s just hard to think about them in that situation,” Fortson said. “You would never imagine something like this happening but you know when it’s a family member it’s really bad.

“When they started sounding very alarmed, of course, my whole family went into action immediately.”

Fortson says she appealed to a friend who’s running for Congress who, in turn, contacted the office of Georiga Senator David Perdue.

“I’m just hoping some of the right people can talk to the State Department and just get something going,” said Fortson. “Nick’s wife just wants a temporary visa.”

“We just want them back on our soil,” she added.

Fortson says she would expect that protocol regarding a quarantine — much like the one being used with cruise ship passengers — would be followed for Nick’s family. But she says they have to get the process going in terms of getting the visa.

For more on the coronavirus outbreak, visit here.

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