As China eases COVID-19 restrictions, some people on P.E.I. remain hesitant to visit

Mikyo Liu, owner of TopFresh Asian Grocery in Charlottetown, says many people she knows in China have been sick with COVID-19. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)
Mikyo Liu, owner of TopFresh Asian Grocery in Charlottetown, says many people she knows in China have been sick with COVID-19. (Steve Bruce/CBC - image credit)

Some members of P.E.I.'s Chinese community have been considering a trip to China to visit family and friends and celebrate the Chinese New Year later this month.

But not anymore.

The country has seen a major surge in cases — and deaths — in recent weeks, ever since the country began lifting restrictions that had been in place since the pandemic began more than two years ago.

Starting Jan. 8, China plans to drop a COVID-19 quarantine requirement for passengers arriving from abroad, but the country's recent spike in cases has made people nervous to travel there.

"I want to go back to see my family, because we have been apart for years," said Ally Guo.

"But they still ask me not to come this time."

Guo is not alone.

Mikyo Liu, owner of TopFresh Asian Grocery in Charlottetown, has been checking in on friends and family in China. She hasn't seen them since the pandemic hit and now expects she won't any time soon.

"Every family member, my friends, my classmates, you know, everyone got COVID-19, had a fever.  So I think no, no trip."

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Zoom

Guo, a volunteer with the Chinese Canadian Association in P.E.I., said she and others are concerned about COVID-19 and the potential for China or other countries to suddenly bring in travel restrictions as cases climb.

"Maybe they change again. Maybe there'll be no flights. Maybe I'll never be able to get back in a short time."

On Thursday, the Canadian government will join several other countries enforcing COVID-19 testing requirements for people returning from China, Hong Kong and Macao.

Liu said she's OK with the new testing rules, though she worries it may lead some to wrongly assume there's reason to fear contact with people from China, as was the case in the early days of the pandemic.