Lenawee County family stranded in Cambodia amid coronavirus concerns

Posted at 8:38 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 14:40:52-05

What was supposed to be the vacation of a lifetime has turned into a travel nightmare.

Steve Muth of Onsted, in Lenawee County, said his cruise of Asia left he and his family unable to return home amid the coronavirus fears.

Muth and his family decided to take a 14-day cruise that started out of Hong Kong.

The plan was to enjoy a tour of Asia and fly home from Shanghai. Instead they ended up in the capital of Cambodia. Now they’re desperately trying to find a way home, but booking a flight has been near impossible.

“Our life has been frozen at this point and it’s frustrating because there is nothing we can do about it.," Muth said.

He thought he would be safe getting on his Holland American Cruise ship.

“They checked our temperature, they had us sign statements the whole nine yards, and so they were pretty diligent about keeping people off the boat that they thought might be a threat," he said.

First the ship was turned away from Manila. They spent a day in Taiwan, only to be asked to leave a day early. Then, the ship tried to get to Japan in an effort to fly people home.

They were again turned away. In Thailand, they were met with a warship. They were also turned away from Guam.

Once they arrived in Cambodia, he and everyone on the ship were tested for the coronavirus.

“They stick it up into your nose to the point where it touches the base of your brain, and it hurts," he said.

One woman on the ship tested positive.

"I got a lot of questions. She’s 83-year-old, she apparently hid symptoms for the better part of 12 or 14 days," he said. “I wonder it’s possible she would have contracted that even at the airport when she was in transit and then became ill.”

Now, it's been impossible to come home.

“It appears as though there is a name out, or I should say, or I should say a roster out there with the name of all the passengers and they are actually stopping people at airports," Muth added.

As his travel nightmare continues, he hopes governments around the globe will consider not just those who are sick, but those who are trapped.

“It seems to me that, there is a lot of paranoia and hysteria out there, and I think at some point governments, whether it’s CDC or what have you, they have to come up with some kind of protocol, cause you know just basically dumping people or not allowing them to move does not seem like a good answer long term," he said.

On Wednesday morning, Muth confirmed with 7 Action News that he and his family will be arriving back in Detroit later tonight.