How to Travel During Coronavirus

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Since reports of the corona virus surfaced in late December, over 370,000 people have been infected and over 15,000 have died around the world. As the virus continues to have a global impact, the U.S. government has established travel advisories, leading airlines and cruises to cancel their routes.

Cities in China — specifically Wuhan, the capital of the Hubei province, where the virus originated — have been under strict quarantine, while Italy deals with more than 60,000 cases and a nationwide lock down. Similar procedures have been implemented in Spain and France as they deal with thousands of individuals affected by the virus.

As the virus made its way to the United States and is responsible for over 400 deaths nationwide, the State Department has advised Americans to avoid all international travel. The Trump administration’s corona virus task force announced they are restricting gatherings of 10 or more people.

Here is everything you need to know about traveling right now.

What is corona virus?

Coronavirus was first discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan, within the Hubei province of China. WHO announced on Feb. 12 that the official name for the specific strain of corona virus is Covid-19.

On March 11, WHO tweeted that they have officially characterized corona virus as “a pandemic.”

“Corona viruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats, and bats,” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

Both Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) are caused by a coronavirus, but not the strain that’s currently circulating.

The doctor who first discovered this strain of corona virus and alerted authorities, Li Weakling, died at age 34 of the disease on Feb. 7. China quickly launched an investigation into his death, according to a statement released by the official Xinhua news agency.

“We express our deep condolences and sadness, pay our tribute to him for fighting on the front line against the epidemic, and show our sincere sympathy to his family,” government reps said in the statement.

What are the symptoms of corona virus?

The first symptoms of corona virus feel a lot like the flu. “You’ll get a fever, cough — it’s primarily a lower respiratory virus — general malaise, there may be some gastrointestinal distress,” Dr. Rebecca Katz, a professor and the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University, recently told Travel + Leisure. When complications of the virus occur, patients could develop pneumonia or kidney-related issues, which could lead to death.

What can you do to prevent corona virus?

General flu hygiene practices, including washing your hands regularly and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, are simple ways to keep healthy. Extra measures include sanitizing commonly touched surfaces with antibacterial wipes or sprays. Also avoid touching your face and close contact with people you may see coughing or sneezing.

When eating, be sure to thoroughly cook all meat and eggs.

Additionally while traveling, the TSA has allowed for passengers to carry 12 ounces of hand sanitizer in a carry-on bag until further notice, according to their website.

“Passengers can expect that these containers larger than the standard allowance of 3.4 ounces of liquids permitted through a checkpoint will need to be screened separately, which will add some time to their checkpoint screening experience,” the update read.

Countries around the world have imposed sweeping travel bans and advisories to stem the spread of corona virus within their borders and beyond.Last week, the United States limited nonessential travel across its borders with Mexico and Canada and raised its global travel warning for Americans to the highest level, advising citizens to avoid all international travel.”In countries where commercial departure options remain available, US citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period,” the US State Department advisory warns.Nonessential travel to the European Union was also banned by the European Council last week for 30 days.The United Kingdom’s Foreign Office has also advised against all nonessential international travel for 30 days.

Related content Here’s everything you need to know about social distancing The increased restrictions follow the United States’ Europe travel ban, announced on March 11, that bars US entry to foreign nationals who have visited much of Europe in the previous 14 days.Flights have been drastically reduced and widespread closures of public areas are in effect. Italy, France and Spain are under lock down, and the residents of several US states, including California and New York, are under stay-at-home orders.Related contentAirbnb further expands its corona virus response, hosts complain, Arbor makes no change

The US State Department’s global travel advisory is at its highest level — Level 4: Do Not Travel. Americans are advised to avoid all international travel.A detailed country-by-country list of advisories is available on the State Department website.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has its own list of travel advisories posted online. The CDC has advised older adults and other higher-risk groups to “stay home as much as possible.”Related content Virus creates world’s longest passenger flight Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on March 13told Canadians to curtail nonessential travel outside of the country. Canada and the United Kingdom are among many other other nations that have issued travel warnings for high-risk destinations.In addition to the United States’ Europe travel ban, the restricted US-Canada and US-Mexico borders and restrictions imposed by the US on arrivals from Iran and China, the European Union has closed its external borders for 30 days. Many other nations have banned certain arrivals, closed borders or suspended visas. If you are traveling, make sure that your destination has not restricted your arrival before embarking, keeping in mind that the situation is evolving quickly and new restrictions are likely.All travelers should avoid contact with sick people and clean their hands frequently.Related contentiousness: Which countries have travel bans?

Airlines have scrambled to adapt operations to travel bans and a staggering drop in global demand.American Airlines is implementing a “phased suspension” of additional international long-haul flights through May 6. The move will reduce international capacity by 75% year over year. Details of its international route changes are posted on the airline’s website.United Airlines has posted details of its safety measures, recooking waivers and more online. Delta Air Lines also has a hub of information online related to the impacts of corona virus, including details on change-fee waivers good for travel in March or April and for tickets booked in March.Air France, KL M and other carriers across the globe have also implemented schedule changes and flexible recooking policies.

Airline cleaning efforts and traveler hygiene

Airlines have bumped up their sanitation efforts to stem the virus’ spread, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted guidance on aircraft cleaning.Delta Air Lines started using a fogging technique in February “with a highly effective, EPA-registered disinfectant” on flights arriving in the United States from Asia and has expanded that procedure more widely.Related content What airlines are doing to sanitize planes While disinfecting is helpful, frequent hand washing is among a traveler’s best defenses, infectious disease experts say.”Even if there is virus in the inanimate environment, it’s not going to jump off the seat and bite you in the ankle,” says Dr. William Schrieffer, a professor of medicine in Vanderbilt University’s division of infectious diseases.”You’ve got to touch it, and then touch your nose or your mouth. So it’s those hands we have that are the important intermediary. And that’s where I would put the emphasis,” he said.Wash or sanitize your hands after touching surfaces in airports and planes.”Hand sanitizers are great. So are antiseptic hand wipes, which you can also use to wipe down armrests, remote controls at your seat and your tray table,” said travel medicine specialist Dr. Richard Dawood.The CDC advises washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used when soap and water are not available.Schaffner has received a lot of questions about whether people should be wearing masks to avoid infection. He realizes it’s culturally very common in Asia, but he says the CDC doesn’t recommend it for the general public because “the scientific basis showing that people in the community wearing masks actually has any benefit is very thin and questionable.”Good hand hygiene is a better defense.If you are sick, wearing a face mask when you are around other people can be helpful, according to the CDC. But those who are symptomatic should avoid travel.

US airport screening

Foreign nationals who have visited China, Iran and much of Europe in the past 14 days are barred from entering the United States. Ireland and the United Kingdom and 26 countries in the Scavenge Area are affected by the Europe ban. The 26 Scavenge Area countries are 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 and Switzerland.Enhanced screening is in effect in for American citizens and legal permanent residents returning to the US from the designated high-risk countries and those travelers are required to arrive through the following 13 US airports:

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