Life as an Expat During Coronavirus: Laurie, Hong Kong

Laurie, a Business Development Manager, moved to Hong Kong in August 2019. Who could predict that just 4 months later Laurie would be living approximately 6000 miles from where COVID-19 is said to have started, Wuhan.

With plans to remain abroad indefinitely, Expatriate Group were lucky enough to speak to Laurie in September and discuss his experience of living in Hong Kong and any thoughts he has regarding his future in Asia.





When did you first hear about COVID-19 and how did it make you feel?

As I’m based in Hong Kong, coronavirus was all over the news here and very much taken seriously straight away at the start of 2020. I think this was mainly due to the City’s history with SARS. I felt apathetic towards it at first thinking it wasn’t as serious as people believed.

What coronavirus restrictions were put in place in Hong Kong?

Everyone had to wear masks on public transport pretty much immediately. Events were cancelled straight away and social distancing was introduced in bars and restaurants very quickly.

Did you face any personal struggles or challenges throughout any restriction, lockdown, or quarantine period?

Yes, mental health has been an issue for me and my girlfriend as we haven’t been able to travel home to see family and friends for such an extended period.

We are just very thankful that we’ve been able to go hiking and enjoy outdoor activities every weekend as this has helped to keep us sane!

Has experiencing a pandemic as an expat in Hong Kong made you consider returning to the UK?

No, far from it – I believe it has been handled much better here in Hong Kong compared to the UK.

How is Hong Kong being affected by COVID-19 now?

There are still restrictions in place, beaches are closed, and we can only go out in groups of 4.

Has the pandemic taught you anything or have your views and outlooks changed as a result?

Yes, makes me appreciate being able to travel as this was a big part of the reason to move to Asia. I also didn’t realise how much being in an office and getting away from home makes such a big difference to wellbeing!

However, working from home isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, at least when we have the option to work from home every other day. I hope that workplaces implement this more in future than previous to the pandemic.

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