New Hampshire

Lack of Flights Due to Coronavirus Leaves NH Couple Stranded in China

Tom Baillargeon's son and daughter-in-law are unable to get back to New England until flights resume sometime in April

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A New Hampshire couple who was visiting China in February is now stuck in the country.

Their Feb. 19 flights back home were canceled and they're unable to get back to Sandown until flights resume sometime in April.

Tom Baillargeon, of Sandown, lived in a city about an hour and a half away from Wuhan, China, from 2005 until 2015 when he retired from Hewlett Packard. His son, Aaron, also lived there for a while and even met his wife there.

They both visit often.

"My son went back with her to celebrate Chinese New Year on February first," he said.

That was around the same time as the coronavirus outbreak and now the couple is stuck until flights resume.

"Everyone is afraid, everybody is scared right now," Baillargeon said. "You can't go anywhere, all the stores are closed, public venues are closed, all the schools are closed. All he can do is sit in his apartment and work on the computer."

Baillargeon added that restaurants are just starting to reopen. But in a country where dinner is served family style – there are strict new rules.

"Only one person per table and one person per dish," he explained.

He says people have to sit a meter away from each other, walk single file down the street, and now the Chinese government, he says, is requiring everyone to carry a digital health card and have their temperature taken at all public places.

"So you have a floating record of not only where you were, but also your temperature at the time when you entered every location," Baillargeon said.

As the United States starts to see more coronavirus cases every day, Baillargeon is hopeful we're better prepared, thanks to the hardships his Chinese friends have already endured.

"It came on so fast and it was so easy to spread, I don't think they had enough warning to stop it," he said. "I think we do."

Baillargeon said his son and his wife are in a city far away from Wuhan, the city where the coronavirus originated. He;s confident they're safe, but looking forward to having them home.

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