| 07.02,20. 04:25 PM |
Chinese mother's Australian visa approved after son dies in hospital
The Chinese national's life support will soon be turned off. (Supplied)
A Chinese mother has missed out on saying goodbye to her dying son because her Australian visa tragically did not get approved in time.
Xing Lan Ren feared she would not be able to see her only son, Xiao Li, before his life support was turned off in Melbourne due to the coronavirus travel ban blocking her entry into Australia.
The 22-year-old was declared brain dead on Monday after his car collided with a truck in Gippsland on January 27, leaving him in a critical condition at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
The hospital confirmed the Chinese national died a short time ago, before the Federal Government granted his mother's visa this afternoon.
Acting Immigration Minister Alan Tudge said mechanisms were in place to allow for discretion under compassionate circumstances.
"I can announce today that Xiao Li's mother has been granted that tourist visa and so she will be coming to Australia," Mr Tudge said.
"Typically we ask people to quarantine themselves for 14 days after arriving in Australia.
"In this instance we are going to work very closely with her to ensure that she can nevertheless see her son and properly take care of the funeral arrangements and other issues which she needs to deal with.
"So I'm pleased with that result, I think it's a compassionate outcome for her. She will no doubt be very seriously grieving and certainly our thoughts are with her."
Xing Lan Ren scrambled to apply for an Australian visa upon hearing of the crash, fast-tracking her application to be processed within two business days at a reported cost of $1,145.
But fewer than three days later, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia's minimum two-week ban on foreign arrivals from mainland China amid coronavirus fears.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has since warned the ban would likely extend beyond February 15
Friends of the family have banded together, starting a petition directed at Federal MP Gladys Liu, pleading for Mrs Ren and her brother Shi Luming to be granted an exception, despite the travel ban.
The Change.org petition, started by Simon Lee, generated close to 3000 signatures.
"We pledge that the temporary visa of Mrs Ren and Mr Shi to be granted so they can visit Mr Li (son of Mrs Ren and nephew of Mr Shi) in the Intensive Care Unit of Royal Melbourne Hospital; and Mrs Ren and Mr Shi to be allowed enter to Australia despite the travel restrictions," it read.
It is understood Mr Li came to Australia on a working holiday visa a year ago, originally working on a farm in Queensland before moving to Victoria.
Mrs Ren initially told a Chinese news outlet she was desperate to be reunited with her son.
"My family is completely in the dark, and now I just want to see the [son] for the last time, but Australia has issued a travel ban," she told Sydney Today.
"I really don't know what to do."
Coronavirus cases continue to hike worldwide, with 24,630 confirmed instances, including 15 cases in Australia.
Before the travel ban was declared, a Royal Melbourne Hospital doctor wrote a signed letter of support for the pair's visa application.