Let us find out whether it is wise to travel in the age of Coronavirus or Do you need to cancel your travel plans during this outbreak of this pandemic or not.
It is just the start of March 2020 and we can rest assured that 2020 started with a lot of bad things, be it the Australian Bushfire, Brexit, Increasing political tension in between USA and Iran, Riots in India because of new citizenship bill and now finally Coronavirus.
Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and currently, more than 1 Lakh people are infected because of it. With the recent outbreak in Europe and the rising number of affected people in Europe. It is a wise decision to change your travel plans for Europe and avoid visiting places which are impacted by the virus. As the number grows many places in Europe has rolled out the notice for border Control and they are stopping the entry for the tourist and people from the other parts of Europe i.e. Czech Republic, Italy has closed its border for now.
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We have covered some topics around Corona Virus you can give them a read here –
Coronavirus Travel Advice: A Common-Sense Guide
In case you are travelling, Read this guide which has Coronavirus Travel Advice which you need to keep in mind during these days while travelling.
Is it safe to travel right now with the coronavirus outbreak?
The term ‘coronaviruses’ refers to a family of viruses that can cause relatively mild illnesses, like the common cold. The coronavirus that recently spread from the Hubei region of China – termed COVID-19 – is a new strain of coronavirus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that studies of COVID-19 suggest a fatality rate of 3.4 per cent. This is higher for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems, and much lower for children and healthy adults. To compare, SARS – which appeared in 2002 and spread worldwide within a matter of months – had a fatality rate of about 10 per cent.
At the time of writing this article, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that ‘in general, evidence shows that restricting the movement of people and goods during public health emergencies is ineffective in most situations.’ Basically, that means that unless you have travelled to or from an area where coronavirus is spreading currently, or have been in contact with an infected person, your risk of getting sick remains low.
WHO does not suggest cancelling all travel plans, but rather recommends that everybody – traveller or otherwise – follow basic public health guidelines.
However, as a precautionary measure from a lot of countries, the tourist Visa’s are getting cancelled and people are asked to travel back to their home countries.
Whose travel advice should I trust?
Well, it is better to take a look at the known official sources and websites of the government in order to Identify whether you can travel during these days or not. It is advisory that if you are travelling and have a tourist visa then there could be a case that the tourist visas are cancelled or made void. In those case it is better you should cancel your travel plans.
If they set an advisory level for a destination at ‘Do Not Travel,’ we either cancel our planned trips or reroute our itineraries to avoid the areas concerned.
If you have travel plans already booked, reaching out to your airline, travel agent, tour company or other travel specialists to get the facts directly from them is a good way to help you make a decision about what to do. Going down a panic-stricken social media rabbit hole or listening to rumours from your WhatsApp group is not advisable.
If I decide to travel, what can I do to avoid getting sick?
WHO’s general recommendations for personal hygiene, cough etiquette and keeping a distance of at least one metre from people are good starting points. Some of their specific recommendations include:
Wash your hands frequently
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain social distancing
Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Practice respiratory hygiene
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
Interestingly, WHO also says that wearing the medical face masks you’ve seen around is not required unless you are exhibiting symptoms of illness. There is actually no evidence at all that wearing a mask – of any type – protects healthy people getting sick. If you do decide to wear a mask, make sure you check out WHO’s advice for how to correctly wear, remove and dispose of them after use.
So, should I cancel my travel plans, or not?
If it is not urgent and it is just a vacation according to us it is better you should cancel your travel plans to the coronavirus affected region.
But ultimately, this is a decision that only you can make and one you need to feel comfortable with if you’re going to be boarding an aeroplane.
When it comes to booking holiday months in advance, there are always risks associated – even without coronavirus. When it comes time to actually leave home, you can’t guarantee that the country you’re travelling to won’t have been hit by a natural disaster, political unrest or another situation that will make visiting there a little trickier than you originally anticipated. And of course, getting sick while travelling is nothing new – from food poisoning to a lingering cough after a few too many evenings enjoying the local nightlife.
So, as long as you’re comfortable to travel, you should. Just be smart with the destinations you visit, get travel insurance, stay up-to-date with changing situations and quarantine rules, and look after your health and hygiene, both at home and abroad.