Oklahoma Woman Quarantines Herself After Traveling Back From South Korea Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Monday, March 2nd 2020, 7:26 pm

An Oklahoma woman said she has been home in voluntary quarantine for four days after spending only a week in South Korea.

She said she was planning to live there for a year, but the recent outbreak of coronavirus forced her to leave.

Mary Newport said she had landed her dream job by teaching English in Seoul for the next year, but she could only stay in South Korea for 8 days before the virus got too out of hand.

Newport said when she got on her flight Feb. 20 to start her new job, there were about 50 reported cases of COVID-19 in South Korea.

"I step off the plane and there are 500 cases. A lot of them are in Seoul," she said. "It's a little nerve wracking."

Newport had planned on staying in Seoul for a year. She had a Visa, a place to live, and a job teaching kids English.

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In her few days there, she saw the virus get worse and worse.

"On the subway there are maybe two people per car, and walking around outside there is nobody out," she said.

She took video of a nearly empty market, and then got news the school she was teaching at was closing for two weeks.

She said some places even put up thermal cameras to test if people had a fever.

"You could see the streets getting emptier and people getting worried," said Newport.

Newport bought a plane ticket home. She said she was checked several times by airline staff and wore a mask the whole way back.

She put herself in quarantine in her Paden home but said she feels okay.

"I'm swinging between boredom and intense paranoia," said Newport.

More than 4,000 people have COVID-19 in South Korea according to the CDC - making it one of the worst-hit countries.

"I was planning on this long term and now I don't know what I'm going to do," she said.

She said she wishes things could have turned out better but is glad to be home.

Newport said she will remain in voluntary quarantine for 2 weeks and wants to warn fellow Oklahomans to take precaution and wash their hands.

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