With the spread of coronavirus, many do not know whether to cancel or postpone scheduled trips. If you are among many who are in doubt, remember that the important thing is to prioritize safety and stay informed. Here’s what you need to know about COVID-19 for now.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a disease that affects the respiratory tract through person-to-person contagion. About 80% of people who contracted it recovered without the need for any special treatment. The virus, which appeared in Wuhan, China, has spread to 53 countries.
Of the approximately 95,000 of the reported cases, more than 80,000 have been in China. Older people and people with pre-existing clinical conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes, are more likely to develop virus-related consequences.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the death rate in Wuhan is between 2% and 4% while in the rest of the world it is 1%. While these statistics are much lower than other coronavirus epidemics – SARS, identified in 2003, has a 10% mortality rate; MERS, identified in 2012, has a mortality rate of 35% – the contagiousness is higher, which can lead to more people getting sick.
What should I avoid while traveling
COVID-19 has spread to all continents. The greatest risk of exposure to the virus is for those who are in China or for those who have traveled there recently. Medical personnel and those in contact with infected people are most at risk of contact. Anyone who has returned from China for more than 14 days and has no symptoms is not infected and cannot spread the virus.
To avoid getting infected, it is advisable to avoid unnecessary travel to China, where the epidemic has occurred, and to South Korea, where infected areas do not guarantee adequate medical treatment.
It is advisable to be cautious also for travel to Iran and South Korea, where several cases have been recorded. Those traveling to these countries must check in detail the regulations that change according to the case.
Who should avoid traveling?
Older travelers and those with immune-related problems should avoid traveling right now. According to a study carried out on 72,000 patients in China, the elderly and those with poor health are more likely to contract complications. The Ministry of Health says that anyone with blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes is at risk of complications. Although there are no data on complications for pregnant women compared to COVID-19, this category had been at risk during previous outbreaks.
Where can I find updated and reliable information on COVID-19?
Regardless of where you are, it is always wise for travelers to check the sites on the destinations they visit to stay up to date. The ministry’s website is updated with health-related recommendations; The BBC has an interactive map where you can follow the spread of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO) website is a treasure trove of valuable information and real-time updates on the status of COVID-19 cases worldwide and answers to frequently asked questions.
Do I have to cancel my trip?
The dynamics of the epidemic are constantly changing and for many, this uncertainty makes it difficult to plan a trip. For those who have already booked to affected regions, check the cancellation policies. If you can cancel without incurring penalties, check the calendar and perhaps consider postponing the trip.
Cruises to and from Asian countries are to be avoided. If you are planning a trip with Norwegian Cruise Lines don’t worry: the agency is reprogramming the Asian routes during the summer season. Others, such as the Cruise Lines International Association, which has about 90% of ocean-going boats, have increased safety measures for passengers and canceled or modified cruises that included excursions in Asia.
If you have not yet booked a trip for 2020, arm yourself with travel insurance that will cover you in all circumstances.
Currently, any trip includes a small percentage of risk in contracting COVID-19. Although many countries have not yet reported any cases, the situation could change rapidly and busy areas such as airports and railway stations are certainly more at risk than others. Remember to wash your hands regularly, which is just like we should always do.