For a Chinese family in New York, it was simply time to go home, with or without viruses.

NEW YORK: Jonathan Niu came to John F. from New York Kennedy International Airport five hours early on Friday, among other things because he had a lot of luggage to check his flight to his native China: he was carrying boxes full of hundreds of facial masks.

His mother and father, both 70, visited him in New York about five months ago, his first trip there in 20 years. Meanwhile, a new situation has emerged in China and has become a global health crisis that is spreading rapidly, which led foreign governments to expel their citizens from the country.

Niu was among those who traveled against the current with their parents, who missed their home after months of absence.

Now is the time to return, said Niu, 44, who moved to the United States more than 20 years ago and lives in Manhattan, where he works in finance.

The family remembers past virus outbreaks, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and survived them, he said. I thought the US State Department. UU. It was prudent to warn Americans against non-essential trips to China because of the epidemic, which has infected almost 10,000 people. But he wanted to shepherd his parents home.

Delta Air Lines Inc and joined other airlines on Friday to suspend all remaining flights between the United States and China.

Even so, Niu's father seemed relaxed before his flight from Terminal 1. He smiled widely, urging a journalist to immediately book a flight to China as well.

His mother had been less certain. I was so nervous that I couldn't sleep, Niu said.

After arriving, Niu said he planned to make sure that his parents' house in Hefei, capital of the eastern province of Anhui, was well supplied with food and other supplies. He will then settle in and stay with them for a month or two in a kind of self-imposed quarantine before returning to New York.

It's like a zombie movie, Niu said, although he imagined he could venture outside to a nearby store if he really needed it. I have downloaded many movies on my iPad.

Niu thought he would cheer up his parents' neighbors by sharing some of his facial mask supplies and leaving them at a nearby hospital.

Everyone is in a panic there, he said. People can't get masks. The stash cost about $ 400.

He had also packed five or more masks in his carry-on luggage, thinking he would deliver them to his fellow passengers on the plane.

'We need to stay at home'

Almost everyone who waits online to register for flights to Carry off and Beijing in Terminal 1 on Friday were Chinese citizens who returned home after a vacation or work trip to the United States.

Linda Xu, 40, had visited New York with her little son, her daughter and her husband, and was preparing to be locked in their home in Beijing.

We need to stay at home, he said, his voice muffled by a mask.

There is no school, said Shawn Xu, his 11-year-old son, apparently pleased.

Two Americans in the line declined to answer questions about their trip. Four other Americans said they were connecting in Carry off to other flights to Thailand or the Philippines and had no plans to leave the airport in China.

All airline personnel at check-in counters wore face masks, as did approximately half of the passengers waiting in line. A China Eastern Airlines employee at one of the desks said the masks had become mandatory for staff members in recent days.

After most of the passengers had registered, two flight attendants from eastern China waited on the terminal floor, their faces mostly hidden by masks. Another employee soon rushed, carrying three boxes filled with another 150 face masks, which the assistants dropped into a plastic bag before turning to head for the plane.