A junior doctor who spent the past year working at a hospital in Orange, in NSW's Central West, has been forced to postpone a long-awaited trip to China due to the coronavirus outbreak.
However, while Dr Jaffly Chen is stuck in Australia, his parents were visiting family in China in the Guangdong Province near Hong Kong when the outbreak occurred. He said they were still there and may miss his sister's university graduation.
Dr Chen was a finalist for the Australian Medical Association Junior Medical Officer of the year award for 2019 and with his internship at Orange hospital due to finish at the end of next month he was planning to fly to China where he has been awarded a scholarship.
"I was going to be spending time at a hospital [in Shanghai] doing an internship next term," Dr Chen said.
"It was one of those opportunities that was too good to pass up, even just to help out because they are really struggling [with the virus]."
"It would have been a good opportunity to see [health care] on a massive scale.
"They are so much more advanced with what they can do at the moment and what resources they have."
Instead of leaving next month, Dr Chen said depending on the virus he was now likely to go to China in June.
Dr Chen also hoped to spend time visiting extended family in China, immersing himself in Chinese culture and working on his language and writing skills.
"Even though I've got a Chinese background I was born in Australia," he said.
"I wasn't a very good student in Asian languages so I can boost my skills in that area.
Dr Chen said the scholarship was not a medical scholarship but was designed to develop young leaders from a range of countries including China, the US, and various academic backgrounds so they could deepen understanding between China and the rest of the world.
Dr Chen said the current cohort of scholarship students are based in Abu Dhabi due to the virus outbreak in China.
Although he's looking forward to going to China, Dr Chen said he enjoyed working at Orange hospital, has not experienced any racism connected to the disease and hopes to return to the region down the track to work in Orange again.