Coronovirus: Passengers wearing masks at SFO is now common sight


There are reports the White House is considering a travel ban to China because of concerns about the coronavirus and the fear has trickled down to San Francisco International Airport, where people wearing masks is now a  common sight.

In the arrivals area of the International Terminal on Tuesday night,  travelers  returning to the Bay Area from Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Taiwan say concern about coronavirus is spreading as the number of cases grow. United Airlines is suspending flights from SFO to Shanghai and Hong Kong  for the week of February 1.

"I'm really worried about it because I heard that in China, in Wuhan, 106 people dead," said Tuyen Tran of San Jose who just returned from a trip to Vietnam.  

 "The scary thing about this virus I can look at someone and think they're perfectly healthy. It takes two weeks to show symptoms," said Laurel Winzler who returned from a trip to Bali."

Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce, told KTVU he cancelled a business trip to Guangzhou, China scheduled for Feb. 3 to promote tourism . 

He says initially the plan was only to cancel a stop to Wuhan. but he had second thoughts.

"We decided to be safe than sorry," he said. "Let's say we get stuck in any one of those cities, we may not be able to get back at all so that is the concern that we had. We had decided we better stay put." 

His colleague, Jessica Chen, just returned from Taipei Monday night.

"I flew back last night," she said. "Flight attendants, the captain, everybody wore a mask. It's really weird if you don't wear a mask."

Some tech and large companies are curbing travel, too. Facebook, Microsoft and Ford are restricting employee travel to China.

"It's caution. That makes  a lot of sense," said Connie Guglielmo, CNET editor-in-chief.

She said many tech companies are able to do business by video-conferencing and, though many U.S. companies  do have manufacturing suppliers in China that have shut down operations.

"There might be limited access to some products but I would say it's too early to say just yet," she said.