Loyola law professor in quarantine after being evacuated from China

Was studying in Beijing, went to visit family near Coronavirus hotzone

Thomas Perumean
February 08, 2020 - 10:03 am
Law professor in quarantine after being evacuated from China

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It's been quite and odyssey for Loyola University Professor Chunlin Leonhard.  

Since September she's been doing research in Beijing, as the Chinese New Year approached, she went to visit family near Wuhan.  

"It has been a long time, at least 10 years since I last spent the Chinese New Year there," Leonhard says.  "So it was something very special for me and so I flew out there with all the intentions of staying only for about a week." 

However, the massive Coronavirus outbreak in the region put everything on lockdown.  

"I wasn't scared of the virus to be honest," She says.  "I was concerned, scared because of being locked up, and that was not a good feeling to know you're just sitting there and so helpless and stuck."

Leonhard had no way of getting out of the area--she was kept from crossing any check points.  It took help from the U.S. Embassy and the support of friends and co-workers at Loyola to help get her on a plane bound for the U.S.  

"I have to say though, frankly at that time, I just wanted out. I really couldn't care. I really didn't care much about where I was going to land as long as I landed somewhere in the United States," She said speaking with WWL-TV on a phone.  

Back in the U.S. Leonhard, and everyone on the flight with her, is now in quarantine at a hotel on an Airforce base in Northern California.  

She says she undergoes mandatory tests twice a day for Coronavirus, but is free to walk around the area, as long as she stays six feet away from anyone else.  

Leonhard says the Chinese government is underreporting the amount of deaths connected to the virus.  "There were people who died without being confirmed and they just, they don't really do an autopsy or anything, and so I think there is serious under reporting in China."

But is grateful to those from New Orleans who helped get home from China during this crisis.     

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