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'We are counting down the days to go', says Spanish national in Wuhan

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Pedro Morilla
Pedro Morilla   -  
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"We want to get out of here as soon as possible," Pedro Morilla, the Spanish Sports Director for the Wuhan Shangwen football team told Euronews.

Wuhan, the city in China's Hubei province now known as the epicentre of the Coronavirus outbreak, has been on lockdown since January 23 to limit the spread of the disease. The virus has infected nearly 6,000 people worldwide and claimed the lives of more than 130 people.

Morilla is one of 23 Spanish nationals filling the ranks of the Wuhan Shangwen's coaching staff. Most have managed to leave the city but Morilla is one of nine still trapped there.

"We are counting down the days to go," he said. "Here the hours seem like days, we have to distract ourselves and think about other things."

'We want to be repatriated'

Morilla, like the rest of the team's employees, has followed the Chinese authorities' instructions to the letter which includes staying at home.

"The good thing is that we live in a private residence with security and the enclosure is quite spacious. We have room to go out, even to exercise," Morilla added.

The last time he left the residential compound was on the second day of the city-wide quarantine to go to the supermarket to stock up on supplies.

"We want to be repatriated. We have been informed that our activity, football, will be delayed. If they tell us that in eight or ten days we have to return to work we would accept the situation, but we might not work for two to three months," he went on.

"We have to look for our health and go to Spain, and when the conditions are favourable we will return," he explained.

'The hours are long'

The Spanish government announced on Monday that it is working to evacuate its nationals. The country's Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya added that this would be coordinated with the European Union.

The EU Commission has since sent two planes to Wuhan to evacuate Europeans from the city. They are scheduled to leave the city on Thursday.

But Morilla has had very little contact with Spanish authorities and told Euronews the local embassy has not been in touch.

"We received information through Edu, our colleague who has his wife and two daughters here with him. He contacted the embassy as soon as he knew they were locking down the city," he explained.

"We are waiting for the how, when and where (...) because the hours here are long and, in Spain, our families are having a much harder time than we are," he stressed.

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