“Repatriation was an obstacle course”, recalls one of the first 181 French returnees


Maurice Caressa is one of the first 181 French returnees from China due to the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic that is raging in the country. He tells franceinfo about his journey from Wuhan.

“Repatriation was an obstacle course”, testified on Friday February 14 on franceinfo Maurice Caressa, one of the French repatriated a fortnight ago to France from Wuhan, in China, the epicenter of the epidemic of coronavirus Covid-19 (formerly known as 2019-nCoV). Friday morning, the first 181 French returnees left the hotel located in Carry-le-Rouet, where they spent 14 days in quarantine.

“I found myself alone in the world and isolated from everything, explains Maurice Caressa. It was during the flight that we learned of the closure of the airport, and the isolation of the city. In Wuhan, there was no one inside or outside. ” The repatriated Frenchman explains that “the difficulty”, was “to access the city”. “Then I had to make four closed hotels. At the end of the afternoon I found a hotel that wanted to take me, hardly, but that took me. I said to myself ‘I have to go absolutely'”, says the man who came to visit a friend during her vacation.

It’s paranoia to get sick. A slight rise in temperature and you are on board and you spend an infinite amount of time in a hospital, with real patientsMaurice Caressa, French returneeat franceinfo

“I organized in 48 hours a car rental and a departure to Changsha, 300 kilometers away, continues Maurice Caressa. I’m going on an exfiltration expedition. The GPS does not work, the city has 12 million inhabitants, the signs are in Chinese. I had to take two hours to leave it. I got arrested by the police on the highway ramp. ” There, it remains “twelve hours trying to negotiate my passage, without any result. And there it is the ‘flip’ to return to Wuhan”.

“Repatriation was an obstacle course. We arrived at 3 p.m. at the consulate, and we took off at 7 a.m. It was not a good memory. At the start, the consulate told us that we were going having to spend 15 days in hospital in China. There, morale was a blow, I was so happy to be able to leave! They told me that the French government did not agree, and we learned the good news the next day that quarantine would be in France “, details this father.

Within the quarantine center, in Carry-le-Rouet, “everyone was required to have a mask, to wash their hands with alcohol, with daily medical visits, temperature readings morning, noon and evening. It was drastic in terms of care”, explains Maurice Caressa.

Maurice Caressa was able to leave Friday after 14 days of isolation. “I didn’t sleep all night! At 3 am, I was already doing the 400 steps, with the suitcase ready to take off. I don’t realize, I’m on a little cloud. When I get back, I will find my children , My relatives”, he rejoices.


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