The coronavirus COVID-19 has affected over 100 countries and territories around the world, and many people I speak to daily are asking if they can still travel.
How harmful is coronavirus? According to World Meters, there are currently 105,905 cases, with 3,567 deaths in the world. This sadly seems to be rising by the minute.
What is Coronavirus?
A coronavirus is a type of virus. It was first reported in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019.
Coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
What are the symptoms?
According to the BBC, coronavirus is a disease that generally starts as a fever, followed by a dry cough. After a week, it can then lead to shortness of breath, with some patients requiring hospital treatment.
These symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. They are similar to those for much more common viruses, such as colds and flu.
Today I read that there are currently 206 cases in the UK, (where I am based) and despite the UK’s strategic response to the virus, I still feel a little bit anxious about travelling. However, I do think that with the right cautions and procedures, we can travel as long as we follow the right steps. Below I give you some quick tips on how to stay safe during the outbreak.
How can you stay safe and travel during coronavirus outbreak
You have a basic understanding of what coronavirus is, and the symptoms. Now you want to know how you protect yourself when travelling?
1) Hygiene is Important
You must take your hygiene seriously. Wash your hands for more than 20 seconds. Make sure you are using a tissue to sneeze and cough. If you don’t have a tissue, then I would suggest coughing and sneezing in your sleeve.
If you are travelling, consider wiping down surfaces and carrying hand sanitiser. While travelling, you mustn’t be touching your face until you have washed your hands.
There are videos of how to wash your hands correctly – it might be worth watching.
2) Seek medical advice
If you do feel you have the symptoms mentioned above I would suggest seeking medical advice – for those in the UK, it is 111.
You may also want to seek medical advice if you have recently travelled to the following countries:
- Hong Kong
- Myanmar (Burma)
- South Korea
- Tenerife – only the H10 Costa Adeje Palace Hotel
You may be advised to stay at home. I would take this very seriously; you don’t want to continue spreading the virus if you have caught it.
3) Stay informed
If you are travelling soon, or in the next few months, you must stay up-to-date with exactly what’s going on.
My suggestion would be to download apps such as BBC News, CNN and other news outlets so you can receive regular updates.
Staying informed will help you decide on whether you can still travel.
4) Avoid travelling to Wuhan
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that travel to China should be avoided if it not essential. The Chinese officials have closed travel to and from Wuhan and other cities in Hubei Province.
If you must travel to China, the CDC encourages you first to discuss it with your doctor, avoid other people who are sick and avoid animals and animal markets.
5) Consider travel insurance
You may also want to consider purchasing travel insurance or confirming what your insurance covers.
Please note if you’re visiting countries with several coronavirus cases and Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not officially warned anyone against travelling like they have with certain areas of Italy, you can not expect to be covered through insurance.
6) Stay Calm
It’s hard to say this, with the number of cases rising every day, but please try and stay calm. I know what it feels like to feel anxious when travelling, so I do appreciate your worries.
How I see it prevention is always better than cure and I do hope we can all continue to travel and stay safe in doing so.