Travelling home during the COVID-19 pandemic

Sean Choo-Foo of Kenosee Lake left for the Philippines on February 26 for a vacation to see his girlfriend, Joyce, who resides in the capital city of Manila. He had planned this trip in November 2019 and had never traveled to the Philippines prior to this. Everything was gearing up for a wonderful romantic holiday in the sun.

         Choo-Foo had booked the time off his job as the sales rep. at The Observer and had his flights reserved and was ready for three weeks of a worry free dream vacation.

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         This all changed when his connecting flight from Hong Kong was not being allowed into any locations in Philippines. Forty-eight hours before departing Choo-Foo was tasked with rebooking a flight through Seoul, South Korea and was able to make the connection work. He was made aware of this news not by the booking agent, but by his girlfriend’s (who is a healthcare professional) patient, whose son worked for Caraway Airlines, the carrier Choo-Foo was flying with. Choo-Foo was forced to frantically rebook all his flights.

         At the time everything was still pretty much normal on the North American continent, but things changed in a hurry, with news of a cruise ship under quarantine in Japanese waters.

         Upon arriving in Manila, it was soon international news about the ship and another was also anchored in San Francisco that also had Canadians aboard. The seriousness of the situation was soon to be grasped by Canadians when the government had to send a plane to bring home Canadian citizens on the ship, and only if they were showing no symptoms, for a quarantine of 14 days at a military base in Trenton, Ontario.

         The worry free vacation soon became very serious when the Philippine President Duterte became very pro-active to keep the virus at bay and began announcing measures to keep the people of his country safe from the predicted pandemic that would eventually spread throughout almost every country in the world. Very much like the situation in Canada, new measures would be announced, rapidly changing the situation for all in the Philippines.

         Soon the news came, that all airports serving the Philippines, would close to international travel for one month, putting Choo-Foo into uncharted waters. He spent his last day in Philippines frantically trying to make it to the airport and during the Uber ride to catch what would be the last flight out before the midnight closure, President Duterte was addressing the nation on the radio, announcing that the country would go into lockdown, only allowing emergency vehicles and those needed in the healthcare profession to be allowed out.

         With limited time and a situation that no one could predict the outcome of, Choo-Foo proposed to Joyce.             

         He made it to Seoul and after 16 hours alone in the airport, was able to connect to Vancouver. From there he flew the last leg to Regina.

         Upon returning home to Kenosee Lake Choo-Foo started his 14 days of self-isolation, which he has now completed.

         “It’s good to be home, but life is anything but normal,” Choo-Foo stated.

                  Oh, and by the way, she said, yes!

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