Early Wednesday morning, a U.S. plane evacuated around 240 Americans from Wuhan, China. Justin Steece, Priscilla Dickey and their families were not on that plane.
Steece and Dickey, both U.S. citizens, are current residents of Wuhan, where the pneumonia-like virus “novel coronavirus,” originated. As of Saturday morning, the total number of confirmed cases of infection is 12,024 and the death toll is at 259, according to a virus tracker maintained by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. The city of approximately 11 million people is on lockdown, and some U.S. citizens there are struggling to get home. In a new video for TIME, Steece and Dickey explain what it’s like to be in Wuhan and why they were unable to leave.
Steece, who lives in Wuhan with his wife and newborn son, says he could not board the plane because his son and wife did not have their paperwork processed. Additionally, he said tickets to board the plane inflated to $1,000 per seat.
Priscilla Dickey, a student living in Wuhan with her 8-year-old daughter, says they were also not permitted to board the plane because they only had a photo of her daughter’s passport.
Steece and Dickey describe the usually “bustling” city as eerily empty and quiet.
“The only places open right now are small supermarkets…and shops for basic pharmaceutical supplies,” Steece said while documenting his journey home from the grocery store.
Face masks are in high demand in Wuhan, and Steece and Dickey worry about the supply in a locked down city.
“The mask situation is definitely an issue,” Dickey said.
Watch the video above for a glimpse into a day in the life in the city of Wuhan during the coronavirus lock-down.