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Coronavirus evacuees return home to Palo Alto after quarantined

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PALO ALTO, Calif. (KRON) — “I am so happy to be sleeping in my own bed.”

Esther Tebeca and her daughter Chaya were under quarantine for two weeks at March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California.

“There was an extreme convenience here, I couldn’t work,” Tebeca said. “And we feared when we come out, how we would be received by the society.”

Esther and her daughter were visiting relatives in Wuhan, China, as the coronavirus began to spread, leading to a lockdown of the city. 

Tebeca said she was terrified.

“We’re talking about tens of thousands of people who were infected and hundreds or more were dead and the numbers kept on growing every day,” she said.

At the same time, as a physician, Tebeca felt that neither she or her daughter were sick.

“There was no chance of getting infected because we were indoors and we weren’t in contact with others,” Tebeca said. “But at the same time we’re in that environment. You don’t have it today, doesn’t mean you won’t have it tomorrow.”

The Tebeca’s were then evacuated. They got seats on the plane home, an extremely stressful experience she says, was like winning the lottery. 

“I feel bad that others couldn’t get on the flight,” she said. “But I felt blessed because in a way we just had to get out of there.”

After 14 days of quarantine, Esther and the other evacuees tossed their protective masks into the air when it was announced none of them had the virus.  

“It is something we will never forget because we witnessed history and for that I am actually grateful,” Tebeca said. “Sometimes things can get tough but I appreciate every minute of it.”

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