A Wisconsin father begged the State Department to evacuate his wife and two daughters – one of whom is an infant – who are trapped in the locked-down city of 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. Shortly thereafter, the city was put in lockdown, leaving the Roth family stranded.
And now, Sam’s plea with the State Department has been turned down. The last flight out of Wuhan left Tuesday, and Daisy, Adalynn and Abigail weren’t in any of its 240 seats.
Now, ‘There’s no telling when they will be able to get out,’ Sam wrote on Facebook.
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
Since emerging last month in Wuhan, China, the new coronavirus has rapidly spread around the globe, sickening more than 4,500 people in more than a dozen countries worldwide
Sam told CBS News that he hoped that his daughters’ young ages would help them get priority status to be flown back to the US on a chartered flight from Wuhan on Tuesday
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.
Daisy (top left) arrived with daughters Adalynn, five (bottom left) and baby Abigail, 10 months (right) last week to spend Lunar New Year with family. Shortly after they got to Wuhan, the city was shutdown in an effort to contain the outbrak
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.
Young children like Adalynn (left) and Abigail (right) are typically more susceptible to viral infections, although it’s not yet clear what the new coronavirus’s effects on kids are
On a video call with five-year-old Adalynn, Sam told his daughter he missed her, and asked if she was excited to see him soon. He hopes she’ll be on the chartered flight from Wuhan to the US organized by the State Department
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.’