As of February 25, 2020, there have been more than 80,000 reported cases of the COVID-19 disease around the world. At least 2,700 people have died from it. While most cases remain in China, the virus has spread to forty other countries, including the United States.
The World Health Organization advises travelers to take extra caution when traveling to COVID-19 hit countries. If you’re going on a trip somewhere, whether in a COVID-19-hit country or not, make sure you’re protected. Maintain good hygiene and listen to news updates always.
Here are helpful steps to take for a hassle-free vacation.
Note existing travel bans
Travel restrictions started from the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the virus outbreak. The city is still under a coronavirus lockdown to this day, meaning residents and tourists are disallowed from leaving the city.
The virus has also spread to other areas in China including its capital city of Beijing. As a result, other countries have imposed travel restrictions on China. The United States has imposed an entry ban on all foreign nationals who have visited China for the past 14 days. This, however, excludes Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Use this helpful tracker to be updated on what countries have imposed travel restrictions on China.
Get armed with travel insurance
A number of insurance companies have said tourists who choose to proceed with their travels may not be entitled to financial aid if the virus ruins their vacation.
When it comes to travel insurance, it pays to have the Cancel for Any Reason coverage (CFARs). This way, you are covered in the even of abrupt entry restrictions or flight cancellations. Note that CFARs can be quite expensive and tend to cover only 50 to 75 percent of the trip, said Stan Sandberg, co-founder of Travelinsurance.com.
Sandberg added that CFARs must be purchased three weeks after making the first payment for the trip. Travelers must also make sure the entire pre-paid and nonrefundable cost of the trip is insured. Lastly, if a travel restriction is activated, your trip must be canceled at least 48 hours before your departure date.
Limit your contact with other people
If you’re traveling to a destination with reported COVID-19 cases, it’s important to limit your contact with other people. The novel coronavirus can be transmitted mainly from person to person.
The virus can be spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about six feet). The virus can be transmitted through the respiratory droplets produced when an infected person sneezes or coughs. These droplets can land on the mouths or noses of other people and can be possibly inhaled.
The virus has a long incubation period of up to 14 days, which means people might already be sick and transmitting the disease before symptoms persist.
Always be wary of what you touch, especially if you’re outside. See to it that you have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you always. If the environment calls for it, always wear a surgical mask.
Whether you’re taking a private plane charter to Fort Lauderdale or a commercial jet to Orlando, you must disinfect at all times. Clean high-touch surfaces like tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures and toilets.
If you’re pushing through with your long-awaited vacation plans, follow these pointers to keep everybody safe from COVID-19. It always pays to take the extra step and get ahead of a potential disaster.