A Bay Area woman and her daughter are hoping to finally head home Tuesday after nearly three weeks in quarantine, on two continents.
Esther Tebeka and her 15-year-old daughter were visiting family in Wuhan, China, when the novel coronavirus broke out.
“It’s more than a nightmare,” said Tebeka. “You wouldn’t think this would happen to you in real life. It’s worse than a movie.”
The Palo Alto mom and daughter were in Wuhan when the outbreak hit, so they were quarantined with the rest of the city with no way out.
“I realized the danger especially for my daughter. I was afraid she was going to die there,” Tebeka said.
She called the embassy non-stop before managing to get two seats on an evacuation cargo plane to the U.S. They’ve been in quarantine at March Air Force Base in Southern California with 200 others ever since.
“Everybody is negative,” said Tebeka. “No positive results, so none of us are infected.”
Out of hundreds of other abroad a quarantined cruise ship in Japan, 135 passengers, including 20 Americans have tested positive. More than 3,500 others, remain quarantined in their cabins, including a couple from North California.
“When you look at how many days remain it can be a little depressing,” said quarantined American Matthew Smith.
With the death toll approaching 1,000, and more people getting sick with the virus every day, Tebeka said the quarantines are critical. She hopes people take precautions and don’t panic.
“This story, if they don’t control it, has one end,” she said. “It could be the end of the whole humanity who knows.”