A Family Faces Pandemic Again In Bay Area After Escaping Outbreak Abroad

Kathy Novak
March 23, 2020 - 1:55 pm
Cheline Yau and her family at Half Moon Bay on March 15 -- L-R Raya Sun, Cheline Yau, Euan Sun, Eugene Sun, Juno Sun -- who escaped the coronavirus outbreak in Hong Kong only for it to follow them to the Bay Area

Cheline Yau

Cheline Yau's grocery shopping outfit amid coronavirus pandemic
Cheline Yau

One family in Pleasanton experienced the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic in Hong Kong, and is now going through the massive upheaval unleashed by the virus for the second time.

When the coronavirus broke out in Hong Kong, Cheline Yau and her family decided to come to Pleasanton, which is home to her husband’s parents. 

“When we first got here, obviously the virus hadn’t come here yet,” Yau told KCBS Radio. “We felt relief we didn’t have to wear a mask 24/7, there was a sense of normalcy.”


In Hong Kong, people who had been through the 2003 SARS epidemic weren’t taking any chances. 

Yau said that people in Hong Kong are used to taking it upon themselves in the face of health emergencies by staying at home and stocking up on masks and alcohol wipes.

“It was like a drill that we’ve been through before,” Yau said about the coronavirus outbreak. “As a Hong Konger, we always feel like the government isn’t working fast enough or responding fast enough.”

She was surprised people were still out and about in the Bay Area even as the virus spread through the community. 

Her kids were going to a local school when they were ordered to shelter in place.

“When they implemented that rule, I was a bit surprised,” Yau said. “But giving myself some time to think about it, I understood why they had to do that, because people weren’t staying home.”

Even so, she says she feels lucky she had the choice to get away from her small Hong Kong apartment and practice social distancing here instead.