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Neenah man fights to get wife, kids home from Chinese city at the epicenter of the coronavirus

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jan 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-28 20:24:58-05

NEENAH — A Wisconsin family is stuck in Wuhan, China as the city remains on lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Sam Roth is working hard to get his family back home to Neenah.

“I don’t want them to get sick. I want them to come home,” Sam said. “If they’re going to be stuck up in a home bored, I’d rather it here than there.”

His wife, Daisy and their two young children, 10-month-old Adalynn and five-year-old Abigail, flew to Wuhan on Jan. 19 to see Daisy’s family for Lunar New Year, but just a few days after they arrived the city was quarantined.

“Public transportation was being restricted, no planes in and out, no trains in and out,” Sam said.

The coronavirus outbreak is believed to have started in Wuhan.

Roth’s family was aware of the virus before they left, but they figured it would subside.

“Even if it got worse, it didn’t seem any worse than the flu,” Sam said.

The National Health Commission in China says the virus has killed more than 100 people and sickened 4,500 others.

Daisy and her kids have remained inside her parents apartment, trying to stay healthy as they wait for a flight home.

Sam said his family wasn’t able to get on a U.S. charter flight leaving Wuhan Wednesday morning, local time.

According to the U.S. State Department, priority is being given to those most at risk.

“My youngest daughter is more susceptible to that, than a healthy, middle-aged, adult,” Sam said.

He’s doing what he can to get them back home, no matter how long it takes.

“I feel fortunate that there’s the potential that we might get evacuated but if we don’t, I’m sure my family will stay strong and get through this,” Sam said.

Sam said that his wife and kids planned to be in China until April. Abigail was going to go to kindergarten there for a few months, so she could be exposed to the Chinese culture and eventually become bilingual.

According to the CDC, more than 100 people in the U.S. who had traveled from Wuhan, are being tested for the coronavirus. There are five confirmed cases in the country.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services says six of those people being monitored are in the state. One person has tested negative.

U.S. health officials say the possibility that the virus will spread in the U.S. remains low.

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