Former Reginan bracing for third wave of COVID-19 in Hong Kong

Watch the Interview with Sonya Yong.

Sonya Yong in Hong Kong

Former Reginan bracing for third wave of COVID-19   in Hong Kong

The fear is out there. 

Will Saskatchewan be struck with the so-called second wave of the COVID-19 virus now that restrictions have been eased?

The second wave is old news to people living in Hong Kong, now mired in the virus’ third wave.

Sonya Yong, who grew up in Saskatchewan, is a grade-school teacher in Honk Kong where she lives with her husband Ben and their two young children.

“It has been quite challenging, to say the least,” says Yong. “We’ve had coronavirus since February. Of course, it is a very scary situation.”

Scary considering the virus has the potential to easily spread in Hong Kong, a densely populated area. 

“The government and the health department, they’re doing everything they can to keep Hong Kong people safe,” says Yong. “There are over 7 million people in Hong Kong and we’re very densely populated so you need to put in restrictions to help to encourage and remind people, or even enforce people to socially distance and ultimately to keep as many Hong Kong people negative.”

People in Hong Kong adopted mask use early in the pandemic (Photo by Lou Houghton)

Yong feels the government’s proactive approach has worked, starting with people buying in to the idea of wearing masks in public.

“From the very beginning in February, I think people in Hong Kong have done a really really fantastic job in wearing masks,” says Yong. “I know that when it first started people around the world were thinking, wearing masks?  That’s kind of silly. Why are you doing that? Because of that, the numbers have been able to stay relatively low here in Hong Kong.”

The Hong Kong area has about 4700 reported cases of COVID-19. Seventy-seven people have died of COVID-related illnesses. 

To keep a cap on virus cases the government recently  limited public gatherings to two people.

Empty restaurants are now a common scene in Hong Kong as public gatherings are limited to 2 (Photo by Lily Boyd).

Yong has lived in Hong Kong for 17 years. She was born in Biggar, SK and attended elementary school at Regina’s Ethel Milliken School and Campbell Collegiate. She has earned degrees at Montreal’s McGill University and Hong Kong University.

 She is a grade-school teacher in Hong Kong.

‘We just started our school year again and sadly for us, we are starting online again. So that has definitely had a huge impact on our well-being but we are trying to be positive and we know that it is for the health of ourselves and our community,” says Yong.

Along with the COVID-19 stresses, people in Hong Kong have endured other major issues. The city has been the scene of tense pro-democracy protests as China casts its shadow over Hong Kong.

“I love Hong Kong.  I love Hong Kong people,” says Yong. “I think with all the pro-democracy demonstrations that are going on politically we just have to be very wary of what we’re saying, what we’re posting on social media and remain neutral. Of course, we worry about what the future of Hong Kong might look like. But we just have to wait and see.”

An eerily empty Disneyland in Hong Kong. The theme park reopened June 18 then closed again July 15 (Photo by Sandra Boch).

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