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Wausau man shares his experience dealing with COVID-19 pandemic across the globe

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MATT CIEJKA 2

WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW)— During the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin and across the United States we are still able to step outside and run some errands while following requirements to wear masks and keep our distance.

However, Wausau native Matt Ciejka has faced restrictions far beyond just a mask mandate.

News 9 first spoke to Ciejka at the end of January just as he had to evacuate China when COVID-19 was worsening.

"By the time I left it was a ghost town," Ciejka said in January.

The freelance musician made several stops around the globe with hopes of getting way from the virus.

But wherever Ciejka went the virus caught up with him.

"I flew to Dubai with my girlfriend. We worked for three weeks before the coronavirus caught up with us there. That was by far the hardest restrictions, you could only leave your house every three days for three hours and you had to register online to get permission to leave your apartment," Ciejka said.

Dubai, which is usually a busy city in the United Arab Emirates, was practically empty according to Ciejka.

He shared videos with News 9 of Dubai International Airport being practically empty with few passengers going through screenings.

Ciejka's next stop was Ukraine.

Once he got to Ukraine he said the government made everyone download an app on their phone to track whenever you leave your house.

"Upon entering Ukraine you needed coronavirus health insurance for $1 a day and that would take care of any medical costs if you got the virus," Ciejka said.

Ciejka returned to central Wisconsin nearly eight months after our initial interview with him, as COVID-19 cases here were worse than he expected.

"I would have never thought it would turn out to be such a big deal it is mind boggling it seems like I am back in the frying pan," Ciejka said.

However, he said the restrictions placed here is almost a breath of fresh air for him.

Ciejka does not have any plans to go back abroad just yet, but he said to take it from him wearing a mask and keeping your distance is nothing compared to what he had to go through.

Victoria Saha

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