WEST FARGO — It was a busy weekend of cleaning for Alan Redenius at his West Fargo home. His wife, Xiu Ying, was set to come home from China after seven weeks in her home country, but the excitement was short-lived.
During their video chat Saturday night, Feb. 1, Redenius learned Ying's flight home this week was canceled.
"I just couldn't say I was sorry enough she wouldn't be home for us to reunite," he said through tears.
Redenius and Ying were married in September. Then, a few days before Christmas, before the outbreak of the coronavirus, Ying's mother died and she returned home to China for 40 days.
Ying is hundreds of miles away from Wuhan, the center of the coronavirus outbreak, but life is still hard as she moves around staying with family as people all over the country hunker down until the outbreak is over.
"She told me this morning she feels lost," Redenius said. "Being newly married, you want to come home."
Redenius said he has no idea when he will be reunited with Ying, but most of the major airlines have grounded all flights in and out of China until May.
He says the U.S. government needs to do more to help evacuate average citizens from the country, which is why he is sharing his story.
"We should not close our borders to our own people. We should make an effort to go and get them," he said.
It's unclear how many Americans are stuck in China and how many Chinese people are stuck in the U.S.
North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong's office said the congressman is working with the State Department to address the travel difficulties.