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Back from China without coronavirus symptoms, Houston man self-isolates

“Because I just watched the fourth-largest city in China shut down, firsthand, I don’t want to take any chances," Robert Behounek said.

HOUSTON — A Houston man found himself in an alarming situation after visiting China in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak.

For Robert Behounek, it was the last situation he’d want to be stuck in, trying to get out of China amid fears of coronavirus.

“I’ve watched an entire country come to its knees," Behounek said. “I realized airlines were going to start canceling fast, because they did it without notice."

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After spending Chinese New Year with his fiancee’s family In Chengdu, Behounek moved up his flight out, managing to book a flight to Taiwan.

At the airport in China, he was screened before he even got inside and a few more times after that. His flight to Taiwan was empty.

But once in Taiwan, Behounek started feeling sick.

He went to the hospital, and was quarantined. But chest X-rays showed it wasn’t Coronavirus.

“He was just like, 'No, you just have a stomach virus.' Talk about the worst timing ever," Behounek said.

Doctors wrote him a note, and Behounek managed get on a flight to San Francisco. He said there, the screening process took travelers 4 to 5 hours.

He got on another flight and finally made it back to Houston.

He’s not feeling symptoms, but Behounek is staying inside his room for the next two weeks just in case.

“If I go out in public, I need to put on a face mask, just to be safe," Behounek said.

The problem, he said, is he can’t find masks.

“People are panic buying all the masks," Behounek said.

He said he wants to wear one to be cautious, but he wants to send some back to China.

“Because I just watched the fourth-largest city in China shut down, firsthand, I don’t want to take any chances," Behounek said.

He said after seeing what coronavirus can do to a country, the best thing people can do is practice basic hygiene.

“Wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow, little things like that," Behounek said. “And you know, the worst side effect, it might just stop the flu a little bit.”


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