Mass. college students studying in China sent home amid coronavirus outbreak

BOSTON (WHDH) - A pair of Massachusetts college students who had been studying abroad in China returned home Thursday amid an international coronavirus outbreak that first emerged in East Asia last month.

Patrick Shea and Tiernan Naughton, students at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, told 7NEWS that they are both relieved to have made it home healthy.

“Knowing that there was a contagious disease is definitely a little offsetting,” Shea said. “We just knew we should probably get out of there while we could.”

The students had been studying in Beijing but the deadly virus forced them to return home early.

“Our programs got delayed a couple weeks,” Naughton said. “While we were flying back, we got emails saying our programs were entirely canceled.”

Other international travelers arriving at Boston’s Logan Airport from China could be seen wearing face masks as staffers evaluate some of them for the deadly coronavirus.

Some passengers told 7NEWS that they had their temperatures taken before they were allowed to fly.

“Everyone’s being cautious. Everyone’s wearing masks,” said Fan Wu, who flew to Boston from China.

Another traveler from China said, “People are taking preventions. We’re wearing masks and I think the government is doing their job alright, so people are reacting to it and protecting their health and their family’s health.”

When coronavirus screenings begin at Logan, the Centers for Disease Control says travelers should expect the following:

  • A short questionnaire about their travel, symptoms and contact information
  • Staff will take the temperature of each traveler with a hand-held thermometer
  • Sick travelers will be evaluated further to determine if they should be taken to a hospital

It’s not yet clear when screening procedures will begin at Logan.

The new virus has sickened thousands, mostly in China, and killed about 170.

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