AUSTIN (KXAN) — The first Americans evacuated from the Wuhan province have been released from quarantine from an Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California.
Nearly 200 passengers that were evacuated last week were released with no symptoms.
This is the first federal quarantine in 50 years and the CDC is reassuring Americans that what’s happening in China isn’t happening here.
“The US situation is very different than what we’re seeing in China,” said Anne Schuchat, CDC Principal Deputy Director. “We do not have widespread transmission. There are more than 43,000 confirmed cases in mainland China and more than a thousand have died.
The United States has 13 confirmed cases, including one just diagnosed in San Diego Tuesday. But there are still 20 Americans stuck on a cruise ship outside of Japan where passengers have fallen sick.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, getting into Hong Kong has gotten more difficult.
The Chinese government has placed a 14-day mandatory hold on those trying to enter from mainland China.
KXAN’s Kaitlyn Karmout spoke with an American teacher who is experiencing that first-hand. He says he’s been in limbo for nearly a week, trying to navigate his route.
“I just fell in love with the culture and the people there. I get to teach younger kids, and it’s so rewarding,” said Michael MacLaren.
Teaching is a passion of MacLaren’s that’s come to a halt.
“My friend was like, ‘Hey what’s going on with this whole coronavirus thing?’ I had no idea what she was talking about.”
That’s until the severity of it started to sink in.
“They started telling people, ‘You shouldn’t go anywhere,” said MacLaren. “Don’t use public transportation. I was on the subway and literally every single person was wearing a mask.”
Everyone wearing a mask, in a culture where it isn’t out of the norm to casually wear a mask. But MacLaren says this was different, and then his classroom’s numbers started dwindling.
“I had one class canceled because I had no one else coming, and then I only had two students,” said MacLaren.
MacLaren’s company ‘English First’ made the call to bring him home. For about a week and a half now, he’s been back in America.
Stuck in limbo.
”It’s been a little stressful. First, I had only bought my ticket back here because I didn’t know when I was going back,” said MacLaren.
His next move is Hong Kong, where his company has set up a virtual teaching office for him. He’s not allowed to go in there, until he’s been out of China for a full 14 days.
“Shanghai is a ghost town right now,” said MacLaren.
That once full Subway is now empty, and Michael isn’t sure when to anticipate when he’ll get to see his kiddos face to face again.
”They’re comparing this to the SARS outbreak that took place in 2002,” said MacLaren. “Just doing some basic research, I saw that took about six months and we’re not even about one month into this.”