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Coronavirus Travel Advice. Update February 13th: The death toll has hit 1,537 with more than 60,000 confirmed cases worldwide. Check with your airline as many flights to and from mainland China have been cancelled until further notice, as well as group tours and cruises around Asia. Flight refunds from US-China are up 500%.
The US State Department is warning all citizens ‘do not travel’ to China. This is the highest level of travel warning.
British Airways has stopped all flights to and from China, as has United Airlines and many other major carriers. Quarantines are in place in several countries for recent visitors from China.
Updated 28th January: Hong Kong will “temporarily” close some of its borders with mainland China and halt travel permits to mainland Chinese tourists. Flights to China have been cut in half, and rail services to China are paused.
With Coronavirus spreading across the world, concern is growing among travellers in China and other east Asian countries. So, here’s all the Coronavirus travel advice for staying safe from the virus.
From how to protect yourself while travelling to getting refunds on flights, this is the essential guide to Coronavirus for travellers.
Coronavirus Travel Advice You Need To Know
1. Official Advice Says to Avoid Travel to Hubei Province
The UK Foreign Office is advising against all travel to Wuhan city and Hubei Province. They say that “travel restrictions may affect the consular assistance the British Embassy in Beijing is able to provide.” The offices also says that getting medical help for any health issues “within travel restricted areas” will be difficult. People are told to contact their embassy fir help if they are in Wuhan and need to leave.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises against all nonessential travel to China.
2. Already in Mainland China? Expect This to Affect Any Travel Plans
On 23rd January the Wuhan authorities closed all transport hubs including airports, railway and bus stations. Travel restrictions are in place within other cities in Hubei Province, and travel across China is difficult.
Chinese travel agencies have suspended overseas tour groups and flight/hotel vacation packages for Chinese citizens. We suggest you contact your local embassy for advice.
3. Major Airlines are Offering Refunds on Flights
British Airways, Air China, Cathay Pacific and other airlines are offering refunds on any tickets to/from Mainland China. British Airways says: “We fully understand that you may want to change your travel plans as a result of the recent coronavirus outbreak in China.
“To make this change please contact us. If you made this booking via a travel agent, please contact them to refund your flight.”
4. How Does Coronavirus Spread?
Rarely, viruses can spread from animals to humans. This seems to be the case here, as the first people sick are all linked to eating seafood from a food market in Wuhan. Now, however, person-to-person spread is happening. It’s still unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.
Standard tips to prevent infection spread include:
- Regular hand washing
- Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing
- Use hand sanitizer
- Thoroughly cook meat and eggs
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness
- Elderly people are more at risk
5. Wearing a Mask Isn’t as Effective as You Think
Eric Toner, a senior scientist at Johns Hopkins University, tells Business Insider that masks aren’t that effective. “There’s little harm in it,” Toner said. “But wearing masks, except in the situation of a healthcare provider, has never been shown to be a very effective way to protect yourself from infectious diseases.”
Good personal hygiene is key.
6. Keep Up to Date With the Latest Flight Updates
Airports all across the world have set up screenings to try prevent the spread of disease. Flights from Wuhan to the US are rerouting to one of five airports and there are some flight cancellations. As the virus spreads, check with your airline for the latest updates. You may have to change some travel plans.
7. Travel to Vietnam, Thailand and Other Asian Countries:
There are cases of the virus in Vietnam, Thailand and several other Asian countries. This includes Hong Kong and Singapore. Travellers to Asia should be alert to any updates but try not to not panic! Use good hygiene and avoid contact with live animals. Try to pay with contactless to avoid handling any money.
We suggest you stay calm and enjoy your trip.
This post will be updated regularly with the latest news You see can more here, including a map of the virus!