COVID-19, Diversity, Family

What a coronavirus quarantine was like for a mother and her 5-year-old twins in Taiwan

For two weeks, KeyKey Hung couldn’t leave the house. She couldn’t go out to buy groceries or take a walk. For her, not being able to exercise was particularly inconvenient. But that wasn’t her biggest challenge.

Hung, a stay-at-home mom, has 5-year-old twins; a boy and a girl. They’re active and curious and not used to being cooped up. They’re not even used to residing in Taiwan.

The Hung family lives in Hong Kong. They left home at the beginning of the month amid growing concerns around the coronavirus outbreak that has now spread to at least 48 countries, infected more than 81,000 people, and killed more than 2,760 people. 

To protect against coronavirus, Taiwan is requiring some travelers to undergo a 14-day quarantine

Hung said there were less than 20 people on her family’s flight from Hong Kong to Taiwan earlier this month. 

When they arrived in Taiwan on February 2, where Hung is originally from, the family underwent a mandatory 14-day home quarantine. To protect against the virus, which causes a disease known as COVID-19, officials in Taiwan are requiring travelers from China, Hong Kong, and Macau to adhere to a two-week self-isolation

Officials estimate that the coronavirus has a 14-day incubation period, meaning that people who are infected may not have symptoms, but can still spread the virus to others during that period.

The mother of two said the quarantine was an opportunity to bond in a special way with her children. 

People who are quarantined rely on friends and neighbors to deliver necessities

To have a “successful” self-isolation, health officials have asked people to take “common sense” precautions, the BBC reported. That means frequent handwashing, staying in a well-ventilated room with a window, not having visitors over, and asking others to bring over necessities, like food and medication. Hung said her friends and neighbors dropped off essentials at their door.

But there’s not much guidance on how to keep energetic children from going to stir crazy, or how to prevent parents from losing their cool. 

KeyKey Hung, a mom of twins, said the quarantine allowed her to bond with her kids

The children kept busy by doing chores around the house. 

Hung, who’s a lifestyle blogger, told Insider that she did her best to view the sequestered time as an opportunity. 

“Don’t see the quarantine as a ‘quarantine,'” Hung told Insider of how she framed the situation, “but a rare opportunity for parents to stay super close with kids.”

The mother of two acknowledged that she has somewhat of an advantage over other families. Hung knew she just had to make it through two weeks. It’s a stark difference for those in places like Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated. There, 11 million residents have been cut off from public transportation for over a month.

There’s some controversy surrounding the unprecedented quarantines. The World Health Organization has said that it doesn’t support this method of disease prevention and that it could even have the reverse effect, and cause healthy people to contract the virus.

Hung was honest with her children about coronavirus and the importance of the quarantine 

To help her kids get through the uncharacteristically unstructured period, Hung explained in a candid way how dire the situation is. She said her twins were able to grasp that staying home was essential to keep them and others safe.

The children often talked about how they missed their friends and their school. To help them cope, Hung gave her kids some autonomy over how the day would unfold. 

KeyKey Hung
Part of the children’s day involved doing schoolwork. 

“We discussed the schedule together,” Hung said. “I don’t have to think how to make them busy. They know how to make themselves busy.”

Hung incorporated academics into the day to keep them up to speed.

Beyond that, her goal was to make the period of time at home “colorful” Hung said, “since we couldn’t leave the house, not even a step,” Hung added.

To pass the time, the kids did schoolwork, art projects, and planted


The children watered the plants, swept the deck, and got resourceful when it came to devising art projects. 

At one point, the pair turned cardboard boxes into makeshift canvases. 

Hung encouraged her children to start taking on more household chores, which the twins welcomed. 

She said the kids didn’t argue with each other more than they usually do, but that they were able to figure out how to “handle” their disputes in a better way. 

Hung said her children also started to do some chores around the house. 

In addition to learning to function as a defunct early childhood educator and activities coordinator, Hung said the quarantine was also an exercise in how to become more present and patient. 

“This quarantine let me learn how to stay with them with a very calm attitude,” Hung said. “I seldom got angry or yelled,” which she admitted is “very hard to believe.”

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