Student born in South Florida waits to evacuate after Wuhan coronavirus death toll surges
Wuhan University dream turns into ‘apocalyptic’ quarantine nightmare
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – An aspiring scientist who was born in Coral Springs is among the foreign college students trapped in China where public health officials are enforcing a quarantine to stop a new deadly virus.
At first, Nicholas Schneider, a Wuhan University student, didn’t think it was a big deal when Chinese public health officials reported they had linked a new coronavirus to a nearby market.
Schneider was studying geodesy, a branch of applied mathematics that will allow him to become a geodesist, someone who measures the earth to determine exact coordinates. He had plenty of work, so he decided to hunker down in his dormitory. But the situation worsened, and the university turned into a ghost town.
“He described it really as kind of a very eerie apocalypse,” Schneider’s father, Raymond Schneider, said.
The father said he had plans to visit his son in Wuhan, a city with 11 million people and more than 30 universities and colleges. The plans changed quickly.
China has more than 50 million people under quarantine. He saw his son go from being bored to fearful, frustrated and angry.
Schneider said his son called the U.S. embassy. His first option was getting a $1,100 seat on a charter flight, but the airport was 30 miles away. That’s when his dual U.S.-German citizenship came in handy. The German embassy offered him a bus ride and a seat on a flight to Germany on Saturday.
“I am so grateful,” the student’s father said. “We will celebrate tonight and tomorrow. And then in two weeks, we are going to celebrate again with a party.”
Schneider won’t be able to see his parents right away. He will be quarantined in Germany until public health officials believe is safe for him to join his family.
There are 9,692 confirmed cases in China, including 213 deaths.
The World Health Organization issued an emergency declaration on Thursday and the U.S. declared a public health emergency on Friday.
The virus has spread to Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. There are seven cases of the new coronavirus in the U.S.
President Donald Trump ordered to temporarily bar foreign nationals who are coming to the U.S. from China starting on Sunday afternoon. The 195 Americans who were evacuated this week remain in quarantine in California.
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