Why these Canadians living abroad have no plans to move home amid the coronavirus

Living abroad during a global health crisis can create concerns about whether coming back home is the best option. 

For many Canadians who’ve spent years away, returning to North America amid the coronavirus outbreak may not be ideal, or even possible.

“I am not expecting Canada to fly people out anytime soon,” said Jason So, a Torontonian who has lived in Seoul, South Korea, for more than eight years. 

“I am more worried about flights being blocked for us to leave commercially or the costs associated with self-isolation for two weeks when — and if— I return to Canada,” he explained.

Coming back to Canadian soil could risk his family’s health, and he doesn’t have a place to return to, said So, 34. 

South Korea is one of the countries most impacted by the spread of the coronavirus (referred to officially as COVID-19), with more than 6,000 cases reported. 

Officials there have been praised for administering more than 140,000 tests for the virus, resulting in a low death rate and the number of cases dropping in the last few days. Although there’s been a comparatively high number of infections in South Korea, So says his day-to-day life in the country where he runs a restaurant hasn’t changed drastically.

“Seoul does not feel like it’s dangerous or a fearful place to be, it is very orderly and everyone is taking it one day at a time,” he said to Global News via e-mail. 

Canadian officials evacuated hundreds of its citizens out of Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, last month along with those on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan. When they returned all had to engage in a 14-day quarantine to ensure they posed no risk to the public. 

Returning back to Canada simply isn’t practical at the moment, but the mood in South Korea is one of concern, said So. 

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