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Ky. native living in China speaks on Coronavirus

Posted at 11:28 AM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 21:33:14-05

SHENZHEN, China (LEX 18) — The City of Wuhan, China is still on lock down as the death toll from the coronavirus skyrockets to at least 76 people and worldwide cases climb to more than 2,000.

Kentucky native, Seth Collins, lives in China and gave LEX 18 an inside look into how the area has been affected by the virus.

He lived in Wuhan for four years and recently moved to Shenzhen, about 700 miles away, in the summer.

"I'm relieved, but I feel bad for all my friends who I don't get to be there with," Collins said.

According to Collins, many of his friends, who are still in Wuhan, are worried about how long the City's quarantine will last.

"You hear rumors where it might be the end of February before they can leave," Collins said. "A month stuck unable to go anywhere, it's really stressful for them."

Collins said people are also worried about how they will work or get access to necessary medication.

His friends describe the City, which is usually bustling with activity, as a ghost town.

"It's a noisy city," Collins said. "It's more than 11 million people. It's like being in New York. Suddenly my friends are sitting in their apartments and hearing birds singing instead of people or traffic. That alone is a very eerie feeling for some of them."

In Shenzhen, where Collins is now, he said the virus has prompted businesses to close and wellness check at subway stations.

"If I were to get on the subway, they are using digital thermometers to check the temperature of everyone coming and going on the subway," Collins said.

The US State Department said in a statement that it will evacuate consulate officials to San Francisco on a flight scheduled for Tuesday. However, space for other US citizens is extremely limited.

Collins said some people he knows have been contacted by the consulate service asking if they want to be on the plane.

Even if Collins had been approached with an offer to go home, he said he would opt to stay in China.

"I'm being told that if you do go back you're going to have to go through a two week quarantine before you can actually go home, and that to me would be worse than being stuck in my house," Collins said.