To curb the spread of the coronavirus and promote travel safety precautions, The United States Department elevated its travel advisory to China to a Level 4: Do Not Travel.
The last thing you want to do do is fly when someone is traveling sick or flying with a cold but sometimes it is inevitable.
Currently, several countries have confirmed cases of coronavirus including just over 9,000 cases in China. Several other countries including France, Canada Germany, the United States, and Vietnam have also reported confirmed cases.
Health officials in China’s Hubei Province — the epicenter of the outbreak of a new coronavirus — reported the largest single-day infection rate to date on Thursday, identifying 14,840 new cases in the region and 242 more deaths.
The figures, which are more than 10 times more than it was last week when I wrote this article. Chinese health officials have expanded how they diagnose those who show symptoms associated with the virus, called COVID-19.
Officials previously relied solely on specialized testing kits, but the new data includes those who have been screened by doctors, The New York Times reported. Hubei has also begun using CT scans to identify infected patients.
If you’ve got some upcoming international travel on the books, here are some key considerations to be aware of about the coronavirus, what it is, how it is spread and what precautions you should take in the wake of this hot button, global health pandemic that mimicks someone flying with with a common cold or is just traveling sick.
What is a Coronavirus
While this new virus strain has been billed as ‘coronavirus’ the term coronavirus is simply a virus that causes an upper respiratory infection.
Most coronaviruses aren’t dangerous however, there are some that are quite serious. In 2012 a strain of coronavirus; the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) affected several countries.
In 2003, a strain known as a severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak occurred and lasted off and on through 2015. Sars killed 774 people worldwide and infected just over 8,000 people.
In December 2019, the latest coronavirus type officially named the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak occurred in Wuhan, China.
Coronavirus can cause upper respiratory symptoms that may mimic a common cold or sinus infection. Those infected may have a stuffed nose, cough, and sore throat. A coronavirus can also cause ear infections.
How Did the Most Recent Coronavirus Start
On January 30, 2020, the United States reported its first human-to-human confirmed case of (2019-nCoV). The current coronavirus type was first discovered in Wuhan City in the Hubei Province in China in December 2019.
Initially traced to a wildlife wet market in the central Chinese city, the virus is common in bats. Bats then infected snakes and civet cats, both of which are sold in the wet markets as delicacies.
Chinese practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) believe the consumption of such meats like that from the civet cat can cure a variety of ailments, including impotence.
In December, Chinese health officials began reporting numerous infections of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan. The city has been designated as ground-zero for what has now, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), become a global health concern. According to CNN below is the list of countries with confirmed cases of the Coronavirus.
The death toll passed 300, with more than 14,000 infections confirmed.
What is China Doing about the Coronavirus
The Chinese government has built a hospital for coronavirus patients in a record breaking 10 days. 1,400 military medics will begin treating patients at the hospital in Wuhan on Monday.
The hospital will be roughly 365,000 square feet and will accomodate over 1,000 beds and a second facility in Wuhan, with over 1,500 beds, should be completed by the end of this week.
The government has also ordered residents not to leave the city and to stay indoors as much as possible. People who have had close contact with confirmed carriers of the virus “will be sent to centralized isolation and observation points.”
What Precautions are the U.S. Government Taking
The U.S. is downplaying the risk of an outbreak here in the states saying there is no reason for Americans to panic or to be concerned but below are a list of states where there are confirmed cases of the virus.
While the U.S. is downplaying this virus you should still take precaution while traveling because what may seem like someone is flying with a cold or traveling sick, it could be so much more than just a common cold.
Coronavirus Travel Safety Precautions
Airlines, as of January 31, 2020, airlines have started suspending flights between the United States and China due to rising concerns about the coronavirus.
U.S. government officials has warned Americans to avoid all travel to China because of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
Delta Air Lines announced Friday that it would temporarily suspend all U.S. flights to China from Feb. 6 through April 30 over coronavirus concerns, with flights continuing to operate until Feb. 5.
American Airlines also said Friday that it would suspend flights to and from mainland China until March 27.
British Airways said Wednesday it would temporarily suspend flights to and from Shanghai and Beijing and reassess the situation on Friday.
Air Canada said it would halt all fights to Beijing and Shanghai from Jan. 30 to Feb. 29, after the Canadian government cautioned against non-essential travel.
United Airlines suspended some flights between Feb. 1 and Feb. 8, citing a decline in demand for air travel to China.
Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Air France, and Lufthansa have all either suspended or reduced flights to and from China.
Travel Insurance May Not Help
While many airlines are waiving cancellation fees or offering credit toward later flights, travelers may be out of luck even if they did opt for travel insurance when they initially booked their flight.
Generally, viral outbreaks are not covered under standard travel insurance cancellation policies. Travelers should check their policies in detail to avoid any surprises.
It is also a good idea to check with airlines before traveling. Make sure already booked flights or connecting flights haven’t been canceled due to health concerns.
This goes for both airline travel and travelers embarking on cruises with scheduled stops in Chinese ports. Click here to get your travel insurance today!
How the Coronavirus is Impacting Business Worldwide
Due to coronavirus concerns The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) canceled the 2020 Blue Bay LPGA tournament scheduled from March 5-8on Hainan Island in China.
Similarly, Americans working for companies like VIPKID and PalFish have had their duties put on hold for a few weeks.
These companies employ native English speakers to virtually teach Chinese children English. Initially, students were on holiday for the Chinese New Year.
The holiday has been extended to try to help curb the spread of the current virus strain. Shanghai schools will be closed through February 17 and Beijing schools are closed indefinitely.
Companies like General Motors and Honda manufacture vehicles in Wuhan and are currently closed; they’re currently in negotiations to determine when to reopen. IKEA, Pizza Hut and KFC have closed all of their branches in mainland China.
McDonald’s and Starbucks in Hubei Province have closed and Disney has closed Shanghai and Hong Kong locations.
Important Perspective on Coronavirus
It is important to note that the fear of viruses people aren’t generally familiar with, like coronavirus, can have more of an impact on human behavior than anything.
Seasonal influenza viruses, or the flu, are much more common and the cause of over half a million deaths each year, worldwide. Flights are rarely canceled as a result of the flu. Flu deaths and infections don’t often hit the media as the coronavirus has in recent weeks.
Since the flu is so common and isn’t deemed ‘new’ the public tends to focus less on it. When SARS or 2019-nCoV hit the media, fear tends to outweigh reason in many cases.
The bottom line, in perspective, is that Influenza is a larger threat to global public health than the coronavirus is currently. The United States has seen over 8,000 deaths as a result of the flu this season.
Coronavirus Travel Safety Precautions
If you will be traveling over the next several weeks, general hygiene rules apply. The WHO recommends that people limit their exposure by adhering to the following general health guidelines.
- Wash hands with soap and hot water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer regularly
- Avoid close contact with people with a cough and/or fever
- Seek medical care if you have a cough or fever and are having difficulty breathing
- If you’re traveling to areas of the world with wildlife markets, avoid direct contact with animals – the US Department of State Travel Advisory recommends refraining from travel in those areas.
- Avoid the consumption of raw or undercooked animal products.
Note: Avoid travel if you have a cough with fever and/or difficulty breathing. It’s important to see your health-care provider and inform them of your travel history.
There are always a number of health and safety concerns to be aware of, coronavirus or otherwise. The flu is equally dangerous and it’s important to remember that media can often cause unnecessary panic.
Adhere to the aforementioned coronavirus travel safety precautions and be diligent about hygiene and hand-washing, as you would any other time of year.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV infection. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Additional Ways To Stay Safe On While Flying
When you board a plane, nines times out of 10 more than a few people probably was sick and didn’t wash their hands, wiped their damn nose, coughing without covering their mouth or just being plan ole nasty.
Follow these simply rules to avoid getting sick while flying:
- Choose the window seat to minimize contact with others. You are prone to get sick if you sit within one or two rows of someone that is already sick and coughing all over place. I suggest sitting a window seat and staying put because the more you come in contact with other passengers you highten your risk of catching germs spread from other passengers.
- Turn on your air vent. Turn the air vent to low or medium and blow the air away from your face.
- Wipe down your tray table, armrest, and seat. Newsflash: Nobody and I do mean nobody is cleaning the tray table, armrest or seat prior to you boarding so bring lysol wipes, spray, and hand santizer to wipe down every inch of your seat.
- Avoid in-flight blankets, and pillows. Just like those seat and tray tables I can almost guarantee you that the pillows and blankets have been recycled even though they are in the nice little plastic bags. I suggest if you stay cold like yo girl bring a If you tend to get chilly, just bring your own jacket, sweater or wrap
Health Precautions While Flying
- Use hand sanitizer. After using the bathroon in the airport and on the plane please, please, please wash your hands really good and after you touch the doors you will still need hand sanitizer to keep germs at bay.
- Get plenty of sleep. When you’re traveling on long flights overseas it is important to get your rest. I know you were probably packing all night and running last minute errands but make sure you get sufficient rest before and after your flight.
- Don’t touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Many people forget that viruses spread not just when you touch an infected surface, but when you follow up by touching your eyes or mouth afterward. Stay cognizant of your hands and make sure you sanitize before you eat or rub your sleepy peepers.
Conculsion of Cornoavirus and Travel Safety While Flying
The White House declared a public health emergency on Friday in response to the Coronavirus outbreak in China.
Americans who have recently traveled to Hubei Province, the center of the outbreak, will have to be quarantined for 14 days before returning back to the states.
There are also new travel restrictions in place starting Feb. 2 for foreign nationals believed to be a risk of transmitting the virus.
U.S. health officials say seven peoplein the United States have contracted the virus as of Jan. 31 — three in California, two in Illinois, one in Arizona and one in Washington.
Whatever you do please DO NOT get your information from Facebook or other social media because I promise you it is filled with misinformation created just to scare you.
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Are you afraid of traveling sick, flying with a cold or the coronavirus being transferred to you while you are traveling. I will update this post as new information is released and I would love to hear your thoughts on how to stay healthy while traveling, so leave me a comment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
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