PHOENIX - Many Americans, including a Valley family, have been evacuated out of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak began.
After a month away from home, including the days spent at a quarantine facility in Omaha, Nebraska, the Dangerfield family is finally back in the Valley.
“You can think of it as a long journey home,” said Jonny Dangerfield.
The Dangerfields were originally set to spend about two weeks in Wuhan to visit family. The trip later turned into worry and uncertainty.
“It was scary. One of them that was particularly concerning was at first, the virus seemed far away, and slowly we started hearing that people close to us started to get sick, and then connections, first-hand connections to my in-laws, that people had passed away,” said Dangerfield.
A few days into the Dangerfields’ vacation, Wuhan went into lockdown. Transportation was at a halt, and no flights out.
"Last Thursday, the whole city was closed down. Transportation out of the city was halted. Public transportation in the city was stopped, and they stopped private cars from being able to travel," said Dangerfield, during an interview with FOX 10 on January 27.
At the time, the U.S. State Department ordered a chartered flight for a limited number of private citizens to get back to the United States. While the Dangerfield family was chosen, the only people allowed to board was Dangerfield and the three kids.
Dangerfield's wife, who is a permanent resident but not a naturalized citizen, was denied permission to board the flight.
“We thought that was going to be the last plane out of Wuhan,” said Dangerfield. “We thought hey we might be here until summer or a few months.”
The family was eventually allowed to get onboard an evacuation flight, but the journey back to Phoenix was not over yet.
The family was quarantined in Omaha for 14 days.
“In Omaha, we’re nervous enough,” said Dangerfield. “The first few days, when you're like waiting to get symptoms, it's nerve wrecking.”
Eventually, the family was allowed to return to the Valley. They are healthy, and are not infected with the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“We feel relieved to be back, but we're not fully at rest,” said Dangerfield.