Coronavirus Outbreak: Travelers react to new travel restrictions set to begin Sunday

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Saturday, February 1, 2020
Travelers react to new Coronavirus travel restrictions set to begin Sunday
Travelers react to new Coronavirus travel restrictions set to begin on Sunday.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The evolving threat of the Coronavirus has prompted the U.S. to implement new travel restrictions on foreign travelers from China.

Yoes Li arrived at SFO Friday evening from a 12 hour flight from Guangzhou, China. She heard about the new travel restrictions and said she was stressed about her flight cancelling even before she found out about the news. "I really worried I couldn't come back. I was lucky, I'm lucky I got here," Li said.

Li and another traveler by the name of "Shawn" both stressed that the Chinese government is doing a great job at restricting travel in and out of cities, and everyone is abiding by the rules to wear masks.

Shawn said no one is really celebrating the Lunar New Year outside of their home. "Everyone's staying at home it's pretty quiet compared to the old years. You can spend a longtime with your parents so it's quiet good," Shawn said.

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Manteep Khadka also arrived from Guangzhou. Khadka is originally from Nepal, but is a permanent resident of the U.S. He agrees with the decision to bar international travelers that come from China.

"Yeah of course, we got to be safe right so yeah of course it's a good decision," Khadka said.

ABC7 sat down with Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director for the group Chinese For Affirmative Action. Choi feels that news of the Coronavirus is troubling, but the travel restrictions are too extreme. "The public looks to our elected officials to provide information to be measured and to be responsible, and this travel ban sends the opposite message," Choi said.

She said the restrictions are effectively a 'travel ban.' "Unfortunately xenophobic. Suggesting that all Chinese people are hosts of this potentially deadly virus. The ban really does I think, promote stigma and discrimination against the Chinese so in effect it is creating what many Chinese American and many Asian Americans feel which is it's promoting an anti-Chinese sentiment," Choi said.

The new travel restrictions are set to begin Sunday February 2, starting at 8 pm Pacific Time.

See more stories related to coronavirus here.