A Wisconsin father is begging the State Department to evacuate his wife and two daughters – one of whom is an infant – who are trapped in locked down Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Samuel Roth took to Twitter Monday, pleading: ‘My family is currently in lockdown in Wuhan.
‘When will my wife and two daughters, one of whom is only 10-months-old, be offered seats on the chartered flight?’
Sam’s wife, Daisy, and daughters Adalynn and Abigail, flew to China last week to spend Lunar New Year with Daisy’s family in Wuhan.
Now, they’re desperate to get on the only flight they know for certain the State Department has chartered out of the city at the epicenter of the outbreak.
If they don’t, ‘There’s no telling when they will be able to get out,’ Sam wrote on Facebook.
He’s appealed to the State Department’s effort to give priority to those at ‘greater risk from coronavirus,’ but he’s racing against the clock and it’s unclear when the Tuesday fight is scheduled to take off.
Just after Daisy (top left), Abigail (far left, age 10 months) and Adalynn (bottom right) arrived in Wuhan, China, the city was put in lock down amid the coronavirus outbreak. Now, father, Sam (right) is begging the State Department to let his family on the last flight out of the city so they can return home to Wisconsin
The Roth family’s experience in Wuhan demonstrates just how quickly the coronavirus became a formidable health threat.
Daisy and her two daughters touched down in Wuhan last week – well after after cases of a mysterious new ‘pneumonia’ had been identified and attributed to coronavirus.
But the city wasn’t yet cut off to the rest of the world, and US travel advisories hadn’t been put into place.
‘From the moment they set foot [in] Wuhan they were told, “stay inside, don’t get in big gatherings,”‘ Sam told CBS News of his family’s arrival in the now-besieged city.
‘And then the city went on lockdown.’
When public transportation within Wuhan and flights, ferries, trains and roads in and out of the city were shut down on January 23, some 1,000 Americans there were trapped along with the city’s 11 million Chinese residents.
Each day they stayed, the number of people infected climbed.
By midnight on Friday, 830 people were sick with the SARS-like coronavirus that seemed to have emerged at an open-air seafood market in the Wuhan, where live game and exotic fish and animals were sold.
Now, the number of cases has surged well past 4,000. More than 100 people have died of the newly discovered respiratory infection, and most of them were in Wuhan.
Gabriel Leung of the University of Hong Kong said ‘draconian’ travel measures are necessary to stop the spread of the virus.
Few passengers are expected to still be trickling into the US from Wuhan, and the airports in the city are now closed, meaning travel to and from the city is nearly impossible for US citizens.
Monday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a level three travel advisory, recommending that all non-essential travel to any part of China be avoided.
Only travel to Wuhan’s Hubei province was met with the agency’s highest, level four advisory, with officials urging Americans not to travel there at all.
The exception is the State Department’s chartered flight, set to leave Wuhan.
As far as we know, it’s the last flight out of the city at the center of the outbreak.
A US official ‘with knowledge of the matter’ told CNN that the plane is a Boeing 767, a plane that seats 240 people – less than a quarter of the Americans currently trapped in Wuhan.
It’s primarily being sent to evacuate employees of the government, diplomants and US officials, but some seats are to be open to private citizens (who will be expected to repay the government for their spots at some future time).
Sam’s family faces tough odds getting on the flight, which is supposed to land somewhere in California.
‘We’ve got a 10-month-old, we’ve got a five-year-old, they’re susceptible and should be prioritized’ Sam said.
He’s been advised on Facebook to write to the State Department as well as his local representatives. It’s not clear if they’ve accepted Sam’s plea, or if Daisy, Adalynn and Abigail will be coming heading home today.
But Sam remains cheerful and positive, while FaceTiming with his older daughter, whom he just hopes to see safe, sound and in person soon.
‘You excited to see me Adalynn?’ he asks.
‘Yeah I miss you too.’