FROM LEFT: Imbil residents Jemma, Meiling and Wayne Binney are relieved to be back home after a harrowing two weeks in quarantine amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
FROM LEFT: Imbil residents Jemma, Meiling and Wayne Binney are relieved to be back home after a harrowing two weeks in quarantine amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Gympie family returns home after coronavirus scare

AN IMBIL family who spent two weeks quarantined at the Christmas Island detention centre after they were caught up in the coronavirus outbreak say they’re relieved to be home.

Wayne and Jemma Binney, along with their 15-year-old daughter Meiling, were three of more than 200 Australian citizens evacuated from Wuhan in the Hubei province of China, turning what was meant to be a family holiday visiting family for the Chinese New Year upside down.

An emergency flight to Christmas Island followed, and it wasn’t until the Binneys had endured two weeks of white masks, medical checks and a “cabin fever”-like environment that they returned to their much greener Imbil acreage at 5am Tuesday morning.

Mr Binney said the family had been left with an unforgettable experience in more ways than one.

“We arrived back home very early yesterday morning and my daughter just slept … it’s been a long journey and it is a relief,” Mr Binney said yesterday.

“Meiling was straight back to school today, she was chomping at the bit to get back into it.

“We’ve gone straight back into it very quickly.

“We have the document which says we completed the two weeks, we are free of the virus and we never had the virus, which helps because I know the community thought can be that people don’t want to be infected.”

Mr Binney said the spooky environment in Wuhan, left looking like a ghost city when it went into lockdown in late January, was the first of multiple surreal experiences the family would face over the following two weeks.

While initially wary of what they would face at Christmas Island, Mr Binney said all three had enjoyed their time there due in large part to the assistance of defence personnel at the centre.

“It was like something out of a movie, the footpaths were visible in the streets which is very rare in China,” he said.

“You just never know what happens in life, you can plan everything out but then you find yourself at Christmas Island.

“(Going to Christmas Island) was confronting at first, but once we settled there and established the routine of meals coming and health checks every day it got more comfortable.

“We were in the green block and weren’t allowed out of our section, so there probably was a bit of cabin fever, but we had a good time there.”

The Binneys remain thoughtful of Jemma’s family members, who are still in isolation.

A Sunshine Coast man tested positive to coronavirus this week after being stranded on the isolated Diamond Princess cruise liner off the coast of Japan for more than two weeks.