PEI

Some P.E.I. families staying at home after returning from China

Concerns over the possible spread of coronavirus have prompted some Islanders to stay inside their homes after returning to P.E.I. from China. 

Rules around those returning to Canada from China were updated Thursday

Hanson Cheng, right, made the decision that his entire family would stay inside after his wife, Eva Duan returned to P.E.I. from Wuhan, China — where the coronavirus outbreak began. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Concerns over the possible spread of coronavirus have prompted some Islanders to stay inside their homes after returning to P.E.I. from various areas in China.

Hanson Cheng made the decision that his entire family would stay inside in mid-January after his wife, Eva Duan, returned to P.E.I. from Wuhan, China — where the outbreak started.

Cheng said when his wife was leaving Wuhan on Jan. 19 she didn't know about the coronavirus outbreak. On Jan. 23 China closed access to Wuhan.

"When she came here [P.E.I.] I got her a lot of information because the government released a lot of information about this virus," Cheng said.

For nearly two weeks straight, they were cooped up in their apartment along with their 12-year-old son — self-quarantining. 

If we had a chance of getting this virus, our action will prevent the infection of other people.— Hanson Cheng

Duan stayed in her room all by herself.

"The biggest challenge was she cannot meet my son and me.  Another challenge is my son couldn't go to school. He lost a lot of courses," Cheng said.

It's what the family felt they had to do after Duan came back from Wuhan, he said.

Duan, Cheng and their son have not shown any symptoms of the virus, but they said they felt it just wasn't worth the risk to go outside.

Richard Yu, owner of Top Fresh Asian Grocery in Charlottetown, says he's delivered groceries to a handful of customers who decided to stay inside their homes for a couple of weeks after returning from China. (Shane Hennessey/CBC )

"If we had a chance of getting this virus, our action will prevent the infection of other people," he said.

Cheng and his family are not alone.

Richard Yu, who runs Top Fresh Asian Grocery in Charlottetown, said he's started doing home deliveries to a handful of families who are voluntarily staying in isolation for two weeks after returning from China. 

"They don't want to take the risk for the public," Yu said. "They want to stay at home, just indoors in their house, with their family.… They just want to protect the other people."

There are currently no confirmed cases of coronavirus on P.E.I., and five in Canada.

Updated travel rules

The viral outbreak has infected more than 28,000 people globally.  All but a couple hundred cases have been in China. 

In an email to CBC, P.E.I.'s Chief Public Health Office said the policy for those returning from China changed Thursday. 

Cheng, Duan and their son have not shown any symptoms of the virus, but they say they felt it just wasn't worth the risk to go outside. (Steve Bruce/CBC)

Those who have travelled to Canada from Hubei province — which includes Wuhan — should voluntarily self-isolate for 14 days, staying at home and not going to school or work. 

This does not apply to people returning from other parts of China. Those travellers are being asked to monitor themselves and their children for 14 days — and call 811 if they develop symptoms such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing.

Other jurisdictions such as Hong Kong are preparing to quarantine all people visiting from mainland China for two weeks.

Yu said with differing approaches and theories out there on how to best contain the virus, it's no wonder some families on P.E.I. are playing it safe. 

"There's too much information. So probably for some families, they think, 'Oh, if I go outside, the risk is high. So, I would like to sit at home,'" Yu said.

Cheng and Duan said now that they've gone a couple weeks with no symptoms they feel confident they and everyone they encounter are in the clear.

They said all their thoughts are now with their family and friends in Wuhan.

More P.E.I. news

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