A TYNEDALE family could be torn apart after a Chinese-born mother was refused a seat on a UK flight due to fears over Coronavirus.

Jeff Siddle, wife Sindy and nine-year-old daughter Jasmine travelled to Wuhan in China two weeks ago on their way to visit family and celebrate Chinese New Year.

British citizens in and around Wuhan, the centre of the outbreak, are due to be evacuated from the country on Thursday, due to the ongoing threat of the virus which has caused more than 130 deaths.

Jeff and Jasmine were offered a flight home, but Jeff’s Chinese wife has been told she must stay. Although she is a British citizen, the Chinese Government say her Chinese passport prevents her from leaving the country. The family are now hoping Sindy can receive special treatment from the Chinese authorities and British Foreign Office to travel home with them.

Speaking from the nearby village of Hongtu on Wednesday, Jeff said: “Sindy is distressed, worried and upset at being split from Jasmine. We may be able to fly home on Thursday, but the problem is getting to Wuhan airport. All the roads are closed and the Chinese authorities are saying we need special documentation.”

At home in Wylam, Jeff’s parents Les and Marjorie Siddle have been in regular contact with the family. “It is the hardest decision Jeff has had to make,” said Les. “Should he stay in China and risk being infected or leave his wife in the country and fly back with Jasmine?”

In a message to his mother last week, Jeff said: “We’re in a bad position and feeling worried about how we can get back home. We’re all trapped, but we’re safe and healthy which is the important thing.”

Marjorie added: “Jasmine was very upset when she heard her mother could not come back. They have always been together.”

Around 200 British citizens are due to be evacuated and placed into quarantine for two weeks.

Hexham’s MP Guy Opperman said his office has been working intensively with Foreign Office officials on this case.

He said: “My sincere hope is that we can continue to assist them and extricate them from a very difficult and complex situation.”

The Foreign Office confirmed they were working the Chinese government to find a solution for the family.