The coronavirus (COVID-19) has been declared a global health emergency by WHO. Keeping in mind the travel community, here are all the travel dos and don’ts you need to keep in mind while travelling. By Bayar Jain
Also known as the Wuhan coronavirus – the place where the virus is thought to have emerged – has left over 3,000 people dead, and infected numerous others. The effects of this deadly outbreak, which has transcended many national borders, can range from anything between common cold-like symptoms to fatal respiratory illness.
Here’s everything you need to know about travelling around this period.
Most countries affected have issued a travel advisory against travelling to China, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Within China, movement is restricted as nearly half of China’s population are either self-quarantined or put into isolation by authorities in order to contain the spread of the deadly virus. The cities of Wuhan, Huanggang, Shiyan and Xiaogan have completely sealed off all residential complexes and communities, while the use of non-essential vehicles on local roadways is also banned.
World Health Organization (WHO) has also released a list of travel recommendations for international traffic in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak. WHO has recommended that travellers returning from affected areas should self-monitor for symptoms for at least 14 days, and follow national protocols of receiving countries. If symptoms occur, such as fever, or cough or difficulty in breathing, travellers are advised to contact local healthcare providers, preferably by phone, and inform them of their symptoms and their travel history. For travellers identified at points of entry, it is recommended to follow WHO’s advice for the management of travellers.
As per CDC, all non-essential travel to China, Italy and Iran should be on hold. Older adults and patients with chronic medical conditions are advised to restrain themselves from travelling to Japan. CDC also recommends that all travellers should reconsider cruise ship voyages into, or within Asia at this point.
Travel Advisory for Indians
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India released a travel advisory considering the spurt in COVID-19 cases. Indian citizens are advised to refrain from travelling to China. Those who do visit the country, though, will be quarantined on return. Additionally, any visas – including eVisas – of foreign nationals travelling from China have also been suspended. All inbound travellers from China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nepal, Singapore, Thailand, Japan and South Korea are being screened at the airport.
Indian citizens are further advised to refrain from non-essential travel to Singapore, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. Those who have a history of travelling to these countries in the recent past have been recommended to opt for self-quarantine for two weeks when they arrive in India.
As precautionary measures, it is advisable to maintain good hygiene — wash your hands with soap, carry a sanitizer, preferably wear masks when you’re in crowded spaces or travelling through airports, and in aircrafts.
Current Figures (as of March 3, 2020 10:00 hrs IST)
Currently, 93,160 confirmed cases have been reported globally, with 3,203 confirmed deaths due to the same. Of the total 38,988 active cases globally, 6,771 are in a critical condition. The virus has affected 80 countries and territories around the world so far, and one international conveyance, that is, the Diamond Princess cruise ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan.
China, the origin of the virus, has 80,270 cases so far, of which 49,884 have recovered. The total number of deaths here is 2,981, while there are 27,405 active cases of which 6,416 are critical.
Of the total 2,336 cases reported in Iran, 77 have died whereas 1,824 are still active cases. 435 of these cases are in a serious condition.
Countries like Japan (293 cases; 6 deaths), France (212 cases; 4 deaths), United States of America (124 cases; 9 deaths), Hong Kong (101 cases; 2 deaths), and Spain (165 cases; 1 death) have also been affected by the virus. Currently, every continent on the planet (except Antarctica) have reported at least one case. India, too, has reported 22 cases, of which three have recovered, and 19 are still active cases. These cases are in New Delhi, Telangana, Jaipur, and Kerala.