MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A chartered plane evacuating U.S. citizens from Wuhan, China landed at a military base in Southern California Wednesday, carrying 201 U.S. diplomats or citizens considered at risk for contracting the deadly coronavirus.
One American who was not on that plane was a North Minneapolis man who is visiting family in Wuhan. Yulin Yin left 10 days ago to visit his parents and celebrate the Chinese New Year.
The trip back home was supposed to be three weeks of fun with family and friends. Days after his arrival, Wuhan became the epicenter for the coronavirus.
“On Saturday, we had heard reports that there was a mandatory evacuation but there were no instructions on how to do that and so we were basically frantically trying to figure out how do we get you out of the country,” said Ann Yin.
She says her husband described Wuhan as a ghost town; 11 million people who live in the city were told not to leave their homes.
Public transportation was suspended and private travel banned, leaving Ann Yin to wonder how her husband would get home.
“We were told to evacuate. It was reported to evacuate, but there were no directions on how to do that, get to the airport, but there is a mandatory lock down” she said.
Ann Yin says the frustrating part was the lack of information about the situation on the ground in China.
“We were trying to call the embassy, the consulate, but there wasn’t a whole lot of information, and so really it was just a big unknown,” she said.
Her husband’s concern was that no one knew he was on lock down.
“The other day he said, ‘I don’t want to be forgotten.’ He feels like, ‘Does American know that I am here?’ We just kind of felt lost,” Ann Yin said.
Minnesota lawmakers have been in contact with her, working their sources to see what can be done to get Yulin Yin home.
“We know everything will work out but it may just be a matter of time, and that’s what we’re not sure of,” she said.
Yulin Yin is scheduled to return to Minneapolis on Feb. 10, but with limited flights out of China that may not happen. He works for Hennepin County and some of his co-workers have offered up their vacation time to cover his time away from work.