An American citizen stuck in Wuhan says panic is rising in the quarantined city of 11 million as the U.S. government works to get about 1,000 Americans reportedly stuck in the locked down metropolis out.
“I just wish I could get my family off,” Justin Steece told CBS News on Monday. “We need to go to America.”
He and his wife Ling have lived in Wuhan for about a year and a half. Just three weeks ago she gave birth to their baby boy, Colm.
“Ling can’t move because she had a c-section, so she can only do so much at the moment while she recovers fully,” he said. “I have to go out; I have to get food, I have to do stuff like that, and my biggest fear is that I would go out, get sick not knowing it, and then come home and spread it to Ling and the baby.”
His wife doesn’t yet have a U.S. visa, and Steece can’t leave Wuhan to finish her paperwork under the lockdown. “Otherwise I would have evacuated with the rest of the people and gotten my wife and kid outta here,” he told CBS News.
As the Chinese government races to try and contain the deadly virus, Steece said the efforts aren’t really making anyone feel any better. “What you see, what the Chinese government is saying; ‘oh it’s calm, resolute,’ the citizens are actually freaking out a little bit more than that,” he said.
The State Department has chartered a flight to evacuate Americans from Wuhan on Tuesday, but Steece and his family won’t be on it. It will carry U.S. consulate staff from Wuhan and some other U.S. citizens. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said passengers on that flight to San Francisco should “anticipate” being screened when they land.