The spread of coronavirus is making travellers around the world worried. Health officials are urging everyone to take extra precautions and take extra measures in order to avoid influenza.
Some flights have been suspended
The majority of flights to China have been suspended. If you have upcoming travel plans you are advised to check with the airlines and look for advisories posted on carriers’ websites.
If you’re planning to travel abroad and are concerned about coronavirus, check the country by country travel advice on GOV.UK.
Should I cancel or postpone my travel plans?
It has been recommended that elderly travellers and those with underlying health conditions, should delay or avoid traveling to areas that are experiencing ongoing transmission of COVID-19. The disease can be fatal for people who are above 65 years or who have chronic illnesses.
That list of countries experiencing local transmissions is updated daily by the World Health Organization. For more information visit the website to view the latest situation reports.
In Asia, it currently includes China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
European countries on the list are Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, Greece and Romania. Three countries in the Middle East are listed – Iran, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon.
What else should I have in mind?
- If you decide to travel, even if its destinations without major cases, you should consider the quality of healthcare available in the region you are going to if you become ill.
- You may be caught up in quarantine if an outbreak occurs.
- Your flight plans may get disrupted because other passengers are opting not to travel. Even in areas without major outbreaks, large numbers of cancellations and no-shows by customers have led airlines to ground flights and disrupting tens of thousands of passengers.
- If you wish to cancel an existing flight or hotel booking, then you will have to bear the cost.
How can I protect myself if I’m traveling?
Wash your hands frequently, cover your nose and mouth when coughing, and avoiding close contact with people showing symptoms.
If you show symptoms of illness while traveling, such as fever, coughing or breathing difficulties, you need to contact your local health providers by phone and inform them about your travel history.
You should carry and regularly use hand sanitiser while keeping a distance of two meters from others where possible.
Stay up to date with all the information regarding the particular country you are traveling to.
Many cruises to and from China and other Asian destinations have been canceled or changed their sailing dates. It is recommended to avoid traveling by ship to or within Asia. The majority of cruise lines have their own policies and screening procedures to guard against introducing the illness.
The Diamond Princess cruise ship was quarantined for two weeks in Yokohama, Japan, in February. More than 700 people contracted the virus aboard the ship, and at least five of those patients have died.
A lot of countries around the world issued a number of recommendations, urging caution for selected destinations and recommending to people to avoid traveling there.
The China Travel Advisory issued: On January 30, the World Health Organization (WHO) determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice. Most commercial air carriers have reduced or suspended routes to and from China. Travelling to China is nor recommended at all.
Also, travellers should reconsider travelling to Italy and South Korea. Many cases of COVID-19 have been associated with travel to or from mainland China or close contact with a travel-related case, but widespread sustained community spread has been reported in Italy. On February 24, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 Travel Warning Avoid Non-essential Travel for South Korea.
The United Kingdom and Canada are among many countries which have issued travel warnings for China, South Korea and other destinations.