Why 2 former Calgarians are opting to not come home during the COVID-19 pandemic
CALGARY -- Over the last few weeks, Canadians abroad have been scrambling to get back home as borders tighten due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roughly a million of them have managed to do so, but there are still Canadians in other countries who are stranded or opting to stay there by choice.
Rob Howard is a former Calgarian choosing to stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he has been for nearly four months, instead of trying to get home.
"Even though at this point I would kind of like to go back to my family and be with them in their comfortable home, I'm not going to do it until I feel like it can be done in a way that is safe for them and other Canadians," Howard said.
Howard said at the moment, he feels safe in Argentina, which as of Sunday reported fewer than 750 cases of the coronavirus. The Argentinian government has a mandatory quarantine in place, Howard said, which means residents must stay home unless they need to go to the grocery story, pharmacy, or to walk their dog.
Howard said he's taking a calculated risk by staying in South America.
"I feel like it could be dangerous to move through the airports and do the 20-30-hour trip home and then go back to Canada and be around other Canadians," he said.
Canadian in Dubai
Jenelle Langer is another former Calgarian who didn't heed the prime minister's call to return home. She has been in Dubai since January 2019.
"I've had thoughts of coming home to Canada just to be around my family in my home country during this time of crisis but the (United Arab Emirates) is doing the same as the government of Canada," she said.
"I also feel like the economy in Calgary is similar, if not worse than here, so the job situation is the same."
Langer said even if she wanted to get home, there currently are no flights leaving the UAE. She is currently confined to her high rise apartment.
"It’s been getting more and more strict as the days go on," she said, adding school beaches and parks have all been shut down.
However, she said she isn't worried about stores facing the same kind of shortages that have been reported back in Alberta.
"I was worried that would happen here but I went to the store yesterday and there’s plenty of toilet paper," she said. "I haven’t seen the same type of stockpiling issues here."
It’s estimated around 3 million Canadians live and work abroad. More than 400,000 have voluntarily registered with Canadian officials.