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Everything Travelers Need to Know About Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Everything Travelers Need to Know About Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Mar 24, 20208,28245

In late December, 2019, reports emerged about a novel coronavirus circulating in Wuhan, China. The virus, officially known as SARS-CoV-2, is responsible for causing an infectious disease known as COVID-19. Since that time, travelers have been shocked by the speed and extent of the outbreak. Cases are continuing to rise outside of China as more countries identify infected persons within their borders. The situation on the ground is developing rapidly. We have put together this short explainer covering the current scientific consensus regarding the virus, efforts to combat the outbreak, and things travelers can do to keep themselves safe.

Table of Contents

What We Know So Far
Combating COVID-19
What can you do to protect yourself on the trip?
Current travel restrictions are included below.
IATA list of travel restrictions could be seen here.
Can I get refund at

Major cancellation policies by airlines, please check:

What We Know So Far

SARS-CoV-2 is part of a family of coronaviruses responsible for illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe infections such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). The new SARS-CoV-2 strain was first detected in Wuhan, in Central China’s Hubei Province in early December, 2019. It had not previously been found circulating among humans.

To understand the impact SARS-CoV-2 is likely to have, it is instructive to consider two factors: the virus’ ability to spread and its lethality. Epidemiologists measure a virus’ spread using a basic reproduction number, which they refer to as R0 (pronounced: R-nought). The higher the value, the more quickly a virus is able to spread through a susceptible population. Current estimates place the R0 for SARS-CoV-2 around 2.4, meaning on average each infected person will pass the virus to between 2 to 3 new people. For context, HIV has an R0 of roughly 4 while the measles has an R0 of 18. Vaccination and prevention help to limit contagion. To date, however, there is no effective vaccine against SARS-CoV-2.

Lethality is simply the ratio of deaths to total number of infections. Current estimates suggest COVID-19 is lethal in roughly 2.4% of patients. Of these the elderly and those with preexisting health conditions are most at risk. For context, SARS-CoV was lethal in approximately 10% of patients while previous Ebola outbreaks resulted in 9 deaths for every 10 infections. Keep in mind, lethality must be considered within the scope of an outbreak. Influenza has an average lethality of only 0.2% yet it can kill upwards of 500,000 people each year.

COVID-19 is understood to have an incubation period extending up to 14 days. This means a person can go 14 days from the time they contract the virus to the first sign of symptoms. Critically, researchers have shown transmission can occur during the incubation period. In other words, people who do not know they are infected and who do not display outward symptoms such as fever or cough may be passing on the virus nonetheless.

Combating COVID-19

Initially concentrated in mainland China with Hubei Province bearing the brunt of the outbreak, cases of COVID-19 have begun spreading on multiple continents. Beyond China, Iran and South Korea appear to be the most impacted. A significant cluster was identified in Northern Italy and the United States is now reporting it anticipates widespread transmission to occur over the coming weeks. Despite thus far refraining from officially designating COVID-19 a global pandemic, the WHO is urging countries to shift from a strategy of prevention to a strategy of containment.

Authorities in mainland China have implemented extraordinary measures to combat the outbreak. These include mandatory quarantining of entire cities and provinces. Schools and universities have been canceled and national holidays extended in an effort to reduce person-to-person contact. Confirmed cases exist in every Chinese province including the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions. Far and away however, Hubei Province is most impacted with upwards of 67,000 confirmed cases at the time this was written. For that reason, travelers should avoid all non-essential travel to Hubei.

Internationally a number of countries including the United States, Japan, India, South Korea, and Australia have enacted partial travel bans covering persons who have visited mainland China or Hubei Province within the previous 14 days. The European Union is expected to follow suit. These nations have strongly advised their citizens and residents against traveling to mainland China or Hubei Province for the time being. A number of global airlines have cancelled flights to mainland China altogether or severely reduced their frequency. Additional travel restrictions will depend on how successful are current efforts at controlling the outbreak.

What can you do to protect yourself on the trip?

SARS-CoV-2 tends to spread via respiratory droplets expelled from an infected person through coughs or sneezing. As noted however, someone carrying the virus may not show outward symptoms and still be able to infect others. There are several things you can do to protect yourself. These include:

1. Regularly wash your hands with an antibacterial hand soap and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

2. Avoid touching your face, especially your nose and mouth.

3. In areas where the virus is known to be spreading, avoid close contact with people and try to maintain a safe distance of at least one meter.

4. Cover your mouth and nose if you need to cough or sneeze.

5. Regularly disinfect your cell phone, keys, glasses, watch, and other personal items using an antibacterial cleanser or a solution of water and bleach.

6. Regularly disinfect surfaces in your home using an antibacterial cleanser or a solution of water and bleach.

7. In areas where the virus is known to be spreading, wear a surgical mask covering your mouth and nose when going out in public. Avoid touching other people (including shaking hands).

Staying vigilant and practicing these simple precautions will dramatically reduce the likelihood you contract COVID-19. Equally important is to remember that current media coverage tends to sensationalize events, often highlighting the most sensationalist stories or events. Keep your wits about you and consult expert information from the WHO or your country’s infectious disease specialists. COVID-19 is spreading and the risk remains high. However, there is no reason to panic and the best advice is to begin following the sensible precautionary measures outlined above.

Current travel restrictions are included below.

Countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 (Update 23th March)

 Everything Travelers Need to Know About Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19)

Although WHO has advised against the far-reaching travel bans, many countries have take actions to avoid the domestic outbreak of coronavirus.

Our latest reference on countries/regions entry restrictions, subject to update, is available at:

IATA list of travel restrictions could be seen here.


Foreign nationals who have visited:China, Iran,Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and Republic of Ireland in the past 14 days may not enter the United States. American citizens, legal permanent residents, and their immediate families who are returning home to the U.S. to travel through one of 13 airports upon arrival to the U.S., submit to an enhanced entry screening  and self-quarantine for 14 days once they reach their final destination.

From March 20, visa service will be suspended, from March 21, borders with Mexico, Canada will be closed, non-essential travel across the border will be restricted.


Beginning March 18, 2020 the Government of Canada will, for air travel specifically:

Bar foreign nationals from all countries except the United States from entering Canada. The measure would not apply in designated exceptional circumstances, including to air crews, travelers arriving in Canada in transit to a third country, Canadian permanent residents, diplomats, or immediate family members of Canadian citizens.

Redirect international passenger flight arrivals to four airports: Toronto Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Montréal-Trudeau International Airport, and Calgary International Airport. At this time, this measure will not affect domestic flights or flights from the United States, sun destinations such as Mexico and the Caribbean, or St. Pierre-et-Miquelon.

Airlines will prevent all travelers who present COVID-19 symptoms, regardless of their citizenship, from boarding international flights to Canada.

All travelers to Canada self-isolate for 14 days upon entry, with exceptions for workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people.


For travelers who are currently in Europe, don't miss


From March 19, Japan will deny the permission to land in Japan to the following foreigners who have stayed in any of the following cities/provinces/regions within 14 days prior to the application for landing:

The People’s Republic of China: Hubei Province, Zhejiang Province;

Republic of Korea: Daegu-guangyeok-si, or Cheondo-gun, Gyeongsan-si, Andong-si, Yeongcheon-si, Chilgok-gun, Uiseong-gun, Seongju-gun, Gunwi-gun in Gyeongsangbuk-do;

Islamic Republic of Iran: Gilan Province , Qom Province, Tehran Province, Alborz Province, Isfahan Province, Qazvin Province, Golestan Province, Semnan Province, Manzandaran Province, Markazi Province, Lorestan Province;

Italian Republic: Veneto Region, Emilia-Romagna Region, Piedmont Region, Marche Region, Lombardy Region,Aosta Vlley Region,Trentino-South Tyrol Region,Friuli-Venezia Giulia Region,Liguria Region;

The Swiss Confederation: Canton of Ticino,Canton of Basel-Stadt;

Spain: Chartered Community of Navarre,Basque Autonomous Community, Community of Madrid,La Rioja;

Republic of Iceland, the Republic of San Marino foreigners who have Chinese passports issued in Hubei Province or Zhejiang Province in the People's Republic of China.

Foreigners who were on the cruise ship, Westerdam, departed from Hong Kong.

From March 9 to the end of March, visitors from China and South Korea will have to stay at designated facilities for two weeks to be checked for infections and refrain from using public transportation. The quarantine will also apply to Japanese citizens coming from these countries. It is also requested that flights from China and South Korea use only two major airports -- Narita airport east of Tokyo and Kansai airport in Osaka Prefecture.

The government will also revoke some visas already issued to travelers from China and South Korea, as well as temporarily suspend a visa-waiver program that covered short stays by tourists from South Korea, Hong Kong and Macau.

The above information is for reference only. The most up to date entry policies can be found in the respective country/region's official travel prohibitions, warnings, announcements, and advisories. This page will be kept up-to-date, but we urge all travelers to confirm travel restrictions with the relevant authorities.

Can I get refund at

At present, offers the following cancellation provisions to customers:

1. All air tickets for the domestic travel within Mainland China made before 00:00 on 28 January 2020 with the flight boarding time after 28 January 2020, can be cancelled free of charge, if a cancelation is applied before a flight takes off.

2. All train tickets for domestic travel within Mainland China purchased before 00:00 on 06 February 2020 can be cancelled free of charge.

3. All Greater China hotel bookings with unused and unexpired check-ins made before 00:00 on 28 January 2020 for the stays between 22 January and 29 February 2020, can be cancelled free of charge.

4. All Greater China car rental services booked before 00:00 on 24 January 2020 for the use between 23 January and 8 February 2020 can be cancelled free of charge.

5. All Greater China bus tickets, ferry bookings made before 00:00 on 28 Janaury 2020 for the use between 23 January and 29 February 2020 can be cancelled free of charge.

6. All Greater China airport transfers, tours and attraction passes made before 00:00 on 24 January 2020 for the use between 27 January and 29 February 2020 can be cancelled free of charge.

For our most up to date cancellation policies, please check this page:

Disclaimer: This article has been used directly from the Qingqi Qiu Platform, the copyright belongs to the original author. If there is any discrepancy with the copyright please contact us directly and we will immediately delete the content.Index for Network Information Infringement Protection
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