U.S. citizens left behind in Wuhan as consulate staff flown out amid coronavirus


(CNN) — The fast-moving Wuhan coronavirus now infecting more people in China than SARS did.

The numbers of people infected with the virus continue to climb rapidly over the past few days.

With an American flag in hand, 8-year-old Hermione Dickey was so close to returning to the United States, ready to leave behind the locked down epicenter of the deadly coronavirus in Wuhan, China.

But she and her mom Priscilla never boarded.

“I didn’t have my passport so I couldn’t go on the plane,” the 8-year-old said. 

More than 200 other Americans did get on the plane, including U.S. diplomats and their families, along with a select number of civilians.

Hermione’s passport was in another city with her dad and could not be mailed into the lockdown zone.

Normally they’d go to the consulate in Wuhan for help.

“The consulate is gone. The consulate was on the plane,” Priscilla Dickey said. 

“That’s a little disconcerting that they have a plane and most of the people on it are from the consulate so, we feel a little bit left behind,” said another U.S. citizen John McGory. 

American teacher John McGory had recently submitted his passport for visa processing.

“Unfortunately for me I didn’t have my passport, the school has it, I was getting a two-week extension on my visa,” he said. 

Other countries are chartering flights to evacuate their citizens out of the epicenter.  

Around 200 Japanese citizens were evacuated Wednesday, telling reporters they feel relieved to be home, adding that the situation in Wuhan is deteriorating.

China has dispatched medical teams to the front lines of the outbreak in Hubei Province and state media shows the first of two hospitals going up.

This as Chinese state media is airing video of coronavirus patients they say have been successfully treated and discharged. 

As for those still in Wuhan, people are concerned. 

“People are scared here. And scared people get angry, scared people want answers. And sometimes, at the moment they don’t have an answer,” McGory said. 

Priscilla and her daughter hoping for a way out.

“We would really appreciate a way to get her an emergency passport,” the mom said.

In an automated email response the U.S. State Department says they are working on other ways to get Americans out of Wuhan, including by car but they have not yet finalized details.

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