Do you have travel plans this 2020? Due to the Coronavirus outbreak travel restrictions and bans, you may find yourself canceling or postponing your trip until further notice.
I feel for you. It sucks but there’s nothing much we can do about it. My supposed August Dubai 2020 trip is now postponed (when I contacted my airline I was given a travel voucher I can use until next year). Most likely I’ll postpone my other overseas trips as well even if they’re booked much later this year. It’s too risky to travel as of the moment since COVID-19 is now characterized as a pandemic by WHO.
However, if you absolutely must take that trip for whatever reason despite the Coronavirus outbreak, it’s very important that you regularly check with your chosen airlines. Check that they haven’t suspended your specific flight/s yet, and most importantly check the safety precautions they’re implementing amidst the Coronavirus outbreak.
If you want to check the travel restrictions of any particular country, you may find this helpful: Interactive Coronavirus (Covid-19) Travel Regulations Map provided by IATA (International Air Transport Association).
Unfortunately, the Philippines still have restrictions on international travel due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Yes, despite the fact that Metro Manila is transitioning to general community quarantine (GCQ) starting June 1 – the travel restrictions still take effect.
Keep on reading to learn more about the coronavirus outbreak and to know how you can protect yourself against it especially when traveling.
COVID-19, the newly discovered coronavirus disease that’s affecting many worldwide began in Wuhan, China in late December last year. Several cases of pneumonia were reported from there. According to reports, the source may be from a wet market in Wuhan selling live animals.
Since then, the virus has widely spread throughout the world especially because it coincided with the Lunar Year celebration. So most Chinese who visited their hometown might have been infected and traveled back to where they came from without even knowing they might be carrying the virus already.
Who may get this disease?
Anyone can catch the COVID-19, with a much higher risk for the elderly and those with existing health problems already. It can spread from person to person through contact with small droplets from nose or mouth from a person with COVID-19. The most common symptoms include fever and a dry cough. There’s no available treatment or vaccine for this type of virus yet. But the good news is that about 80% of those infected were reported to recover from the disease without needing special medication.
According to the World Health Organization, there are over 5.8M confirmed cases due to the coronavirus outbreak, with more than 300,000 number of confirmed deaths. You can regularly check the updates from WHO here.
Since air travel is a major contributing factor in how viruses spread, it has made a huge impact on the airline industry. It’s predicted that air travel demand will fall drastically for the first time in 11 years since the 2008 global financial crisis. Many fear traveling right now amidst the coronavirus outbreak, especially within the heavily affected regions.
So you have booked and paid for your trip already? What now?
Always use your own judgment and weigh the pros and cons when considering if you will push through with your travel plans. If you can postpone your trip much better. Monitor the confirmed cases (if any) at your destination. Check if your country didn’t impose a travel ban. Check for any important flight advisories by visiting your airlines’ websites.
Make sure you bring extra clothes and money in case you will be sent for quarantine somewhere. Ensure you’re healthy enough to travel.
If you’re all set to go, here are some handy tips when traveling during this time.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or with alcohol. This is so important since we touch our face with our hands often. It helps eliminate the transfer of the virus from a contaminated object/person to your hands. Also avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Always cover mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Dispose of properly any used tissue and clean your hands immediately. This is so that you will not contaminate any objects or people that you contact.
- Stay away from crowded places and keep at least 3 feet distance between yourself and other people. Since those infected are more likely to cough and sneeze, you may catch the small droplets containing the virus if you’re too close to them.
- It’s advised not to visit live animal markets, wet markets or animal product markets for now. As always, wash hands properly after touching animals.
- Best not to consume any raw or undercooked animal products (say bye to sushi for now). Handle raw food with care so as not to cross-contaminate with other food.
⚠️ Help stop the spread of the disease! Be a responsible traveler.⚠️
After returning from your trip, quarantine yourself if needed for the whole incubation period (up to 14 days). If you experience any coronavirus symptoms, immediately go to a doctor for a check-up. Always keep your hands clean — this is actually more effective than wearing a mask. For added safety measures, you can of course also wear a mask when going to public places. Here’s how you can easily make 5 types of DIY face masks at home.
Keep safe everyone! Let’s all pray that this ends soon and that no one gets infected by this deadly virus anymore. Let’s also pray for those already infected that they recover soon.
For more information and to keep yourself updated about the coronavirus outbreak, visit the WHO website.