An Evangeline Parish native, who currently lives in China, is sharing how the coronavirus is impacting the area.
Sara Nugent is originally from Pine Prairie. She recently moved to China, to teach English. Now she's at the center of the coronavirus outbreak. She lives in Yangzhou, China. While it's about 6 hours away from where the coronavirus originated, Nugent says most areas in the country are completely empty. "China has become like a ghost place,” Nugent said. “Everyone is scared to go outside. I've been home for a couple weeks and I still have a couple more to go. I can't really go outside and do anything. No one can.”
Nugent hasn’t been able to leave her home because of the virus. China’s government is alerting people to stay home, as the country is figuring out how to manage the virus. Nugent has been teaching in the area for 5 months. She decided to move to China, to explore the world and live overseas. "I told myself by the time I turn 26 i was going to live overseas,” Nugent said.
However, her teaching job has been put on hold, as the cornonvirus outbreak has forced people to stay in doors. "School is shut down until further notice,” Nugent said. “I spoke to my boss today and he says he doesn't expect it to open back up before the end of February. It's not necessarily a deadly disease, unless you already have health issues. It's rapidly spreading and they don't know how to control it yet."
Nugent was visiting Beijing when the virus became an issue. "At first I was very scared because, everywhere was sold out of masks,” Nugent said. “ We couldn't find masks anywhere in the city. It's crazy because that city is massive. We had to go on both trains and planes to get back to our city and the whole time people are coughing. I was scared I was picking something up." She added, “ Then you get home and they tell you you can't leave your apartment for 14 days."
While Nugent is healthy and fine, it's been weeks since she's left her apartment because of the country’s policies. She says most teachers decided to leave the country, or go back home to America. However, Nugent plans on staying.
"I've decided to not come home and wait it out at my apartment,” Nugent said. “ I think it would be safer than the airport and facing quarantine coming back to America. I was pretty scared at first. I was so ready to jump back on a plane to America, but there's so much unknown going on. There's a lot that you don't know.”
The World Health Organization says the number of cases for the virus has surged since the outbreak began. So far more than 3,000 patients have tested positive.