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Coronavirus Outbreak Explained and Travel Advice – LIVE

Governments worldwide have relevant advice regarding coronavirus |
Governments worldwide have relevant advice regarding coronavirus | | © Didier ZYLBERYNG / Alamy Stock Photo
Culture Trip explains everything you need to know about Covid-19 and its impact on travel around the world.

Latest Frequently Asked Questions

Is it still safe to travel?

Things are changing very rapidly when it comes to international travel. However, many governments across the globe are now discouraging all but essential travel to overseas destinations.

The US State Department, for example, has released a Global Level 4 Health Advisory that warns citizens they should avoid all international travel.

Which countries have coronavirus travel restrictions in place?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) website regularly updates a list of countries and regions where restrictions are in place. Many of the restrictions include: no entry for non-residents, automatic 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival at the passenger’s expense, and a medical certificate issued by local health authorities stating the passengers are fit for travel and free from respiratory disease.

Which flights are being cancelled due to coronavirus?

The spread of coronavirus has discouraged people from travelling overseas, resulting in a number of flight cancellations across the airline industry.

The Independent reports on all the airlines that have reduced their routes. Plus, Forbes has a comprehensive list of all major airline coronavirus change-and-cancellation policies.

To find out about a specific airline route, as well as rebooking, refund or cancellation policies, check with the International Air Travel Association.

Where can I find out about airlines and airports affected by the viral outbreak?

Airport-technology.com, a website reporting on airport and airline news across the globe, provides up-to-date information on which airlines are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and what measures airports are taking to stop its spread.

What will happen with my hotel reservation?

Forbes has a running list of major hotel chains, detailing how they have been affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and giving up-to-date change and cancellation policies.

Along with a list of cancellation policies, travel management platform TravelPerk provides general tips on how to change hotel bookings.

Airbnb provides the latest news on the impact of coronavirus, including cancellation policies, advice to hosts on how to keep their properties safe and guidelines on how to house Covid-19 responders.

How can I protect myself while travelling?

The World Health Organisation lists the best tips to stay safe during the Covid-19 outbreak, including washing your hands regularly (with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser), avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth and stay at least a metre away from someone who is coughing or sneezing.

Should I be wearing a mask while travelling?

The World Health Organisation has issued clear guidelines on the use of masks during the coronavirus outbreak, stating that they should be worn:
• If you are taking care of a person with a suspected infection
• If you are sick and showing symptoms

However, as the BBC reports, widespread mask-wearing – seen across many Asian countries – can act as a ‘behavioural signal’ to you and others for improved personal hygiene and social distancing.

What is the impact on travel insurance?

It depends on your national government’s current advice. According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), “anyone travelling to a country or region against government advice risks invalidating their travel insurance”.

If you want to cancel a trip to areas the government has not advised against all-but-essential travel to, you run the risk of not getting a refund.

This is because travel insurance is not designed to cover “disinclination to travel”, which would be the case while the UK government hasn’t advised against travel to the area, said the ABI.

Which events in the sports and entertainment calendar have been affected?

As the Covid-19 outbreak spreads globally, it has had a major impact on the sports and entertainment world. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Euro 2020 have both been postponed until 2021.

The New York Times reports on the list of major sporting and cultural events that have been affected as a result of coronavirus.

Which museums are closed due to Covid-19?

The Art Newspaper provides up-to-date news on which cultural institutions have temporarily shut their doors on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

For more information, check the website of the cultural institution in question.

How can I help while social distancing?

Social distancing – maintaining physical distance from other people (approximately 6 feet or 2 metres) – has been enforced in multiple countries, including the UK, France, Italy and Spain. Gov.uk defines social distancing as “temporarily reducing socialising in public places such as entertainment or sports events, reducing our use of non-essential public transport or recommending more home working”.

At least 20 per cent of the world’s population is currently on some form of lockdown, while India has just announced a 21-day lockdown that will keep its 1.3 billion citizens at home.

Despite this, there are still ways to help your local community from a distance. In the UK, a group of volunteers have set up Covid Mutual Aid UK in order to provide aid to local communities. You can find details of your local Facebook page and WhatsApp group here.

Meanwhile, Beauty Banks – a charity that supplies essential toiletries to people in poverty – launched an emergency virus-related appeal on Sunday to raise money for soap, hand sanitiser and washing powder for those who don’t have the money to stockpile. They have since raised £70,000 ($85,683).

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What’s the latest in Europe, Middle East and Africa?

• The UK health minister and prime minister both said they have tested positive for Covid-19 and are self-isolating. Boris Johnson said he would still lead the government’s response to the outbreak.

• The latest data from Spain’s health ministry shows the death toll stabilising, said the health emergency chief.

• Germany has proposed using big data and location tracking to isolate people with coronavirus once social distancing measures now in force have slowed its spread, various media reported on Friday.

• About half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa still have a “narrowing” opportunity to curb the spread, the regional head of the World Health Organisation said.

• Iran started an inter-city travel ban, as its death toll rose to 2,378 on Friday.

What’s the latest in the Americas?

• The US House of Representatives will approve the coronavirus economic relief bill on Friday, likely after a three-hour debate, said US house speaker Pelosi.

• Brazil will reduce environmental enforcement during the outbreak, despite concerns that it could lead to a spike in deforestation.

What’s the latest in the Asia-Pacific region?

• Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases, as Beijing ordered airlines to reduce international flights.

• The governor of Tokyo’s plea for citizens to avoid non-essential outings until 12 April has prompted a rush for supplies despite warnings against stock-piling.

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FACTBOX

What is coronavirus (Covid-19)?

Covid-19, first detected in December 2019 in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China, is a strain of coronavirus previously unknown to human science.

The first infections were linked to Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, but the virus is now spreading from person to person.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illness in people and others that circulate among animals, including camels, cats and bats”.

What are its symptoms?

Symptoms of the virus include a cough, fever, sore throat, headache and breathing difficulties.

The virus can cause lower respiratory tract illness like pneumonia, especially for those with a weaker immune system, like the very young or elderly.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the incubation period – between getting infected and showing symptoms – lasts up to 14 days.

How is the virus transmitted?

The virus can be spread by human-to-human transmission – for example, coming into contact with an infected person’s droplets in a cough.

As CNN reports, Covid-19 can also be transmitted by touching an object which an infected person has touched, and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes.

How can you prevent its spread?

Wash your hands frequently – Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand gel can kill the virus.

Maintain social distance – Keep your distance from people coughing, sneezing or with a fever – ideally, at least 1 metre (3.2 feet) away.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – If your hands touch a contaminated surface, you run the risk of that virus entering your body.

Practice good respiratory hygiene – Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing (ideally with a tissue), and wash your hands afterwards.

Useful links on coronavirus

The BBC provides a visual guide to the viral outbreak, with key maps, graphics and stats.

The Worldometer website provides real-time statistics and updates on Covid-19 cases across the globe.

The World Health Organization (WHO) offers advice on how the general public can help prevent the spread of the virus.