Berks County teacher stuck in China amid growing Coronavirus concerns

Elizabeth Heckman just graduated from Kutztown University last May and within weeks she moved to Wuhan, China where she got a job as an English teacher.

Little did she realize that Wuhan would become ground zero for a disease that would quickly infect more than 17,000 people in China and kill more than 360 so far.

During a recent Skype interview, she said, "The city is basically on lockdown. We can't use any sort of public transportation, so we are told to stay in our homes and wear masks if we go outside."

Elizabeth says she has been trying for days to fly back to the United States, but with the increasing number of delayed and canceled flights in and out of China, and the lack of public transportation linked to concerns over coronavirus, she feels all but trapped.

Meanwhile, she says life in Wuhan is now almost like a scene from a Stephen King novel.

"The grocery store around where I live has been doing temperature checks. So, they check your temperature before you are even allowed to go into the grocery store to shop. I just don't want to be here and not know, and just hear about people getting sick more and more," she said.

And Elizabeth says the worst part is not being sure that the information she is receiving from the Chinese government, and the state-run media there, is complete or accurate.

"If all of these precautions are being taken and if the U.S. is trying to get us home, it must be like more serious than we actually know," she said.

The final obstacle for Elizabeth Heckman is financial. She says any last-minute flight out of China will cost her between $3,000 and $5,000. Her family has since turned to crowd-funding to raise that money.

In the interim, Elizabeth remains all but isolated inside her apartment in Wuhan, China.
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