As news of coronavirus continues to stream in from around the globe, many travelers are left wondering how this affects their domestic and international travel plans. However, there’s no reason to panic or cancel those travel plans yet.
Here’s some helpful information to consider.
What is coronavirus?
First, let’s start with some basic facts about what Coronavirus or Covid-19 is, how it is contracted and symptoms of the virus.
Coronavirus was initially spread in the Chinese city of Huanan after an individual ingested an animal infected with a coronavirus. However, it’s since spread by human-to-human contact with those that have the virus. The symptoms vary but are similar to symptoms of the common cold, and include fever, difficulty breathing and a cough.
You can still protect yourself and your fellow travelers with these health and safety tips for travel whether you are in the U.S. or abroad.
Which countries are safe to visit right now?
Currently, 66 countries have been impacted across the globe, but that doesn’t mean all of those parts of the world are off-limits. Before booking your travel or deciding if you should still travel, be sure to check the CDC’s Travelers Health and Travel Notices.
You will find a four-level warning system with updates by the hour. Warning level 1 advises travelers to practice usual precautions, warning level 2 advises travelers to practice enhanced precautions warning level 3 is to avoid nonessential travel and level 4 (the direst and considered a viable threat) is DO NOT TRAVEL.
At the moment the only country at level 4 is China where the coronavirus started.
Is it safe to travel on cruise ships?
In spite of close quarters and potential exposure, cruising still remains a safe and viable vacation option. Only two cruise ships and its passengers have been impacted by the coronavirus.
Those ships included the Diamond Princess and Holland America Westerdam. Both cruise liners did an exceptional job of keeping the virus well-monitored and contained in spite of those aforementioned exposures.
The CLIA or Cruise Lines International Association has protocols in place to help prevent and curb the spread of any illnesses including the coronavirus aboard ships. In other words, they are on top of this virus and any other viruses.
Those precautions include denying boarding to passengers that have traveled from China, Hong Kong, and Macau via air travel from those airports within a 14-day time period.
Additionally, anyone that has come in contact with someone with coronavirus or suspected of coming in contact will be denied boarding as well, regardless of travel origins, according to CLIA guidelines.
Cruises to and from Mainland China have been canceled for the time being.
What safety travel precautions can I take to protect myself from coronavirus while traveling?
Not much has changed as far as general safety tips for travel are concerned. Let’s start with the elephant in the room—the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises avoiding all non-essential travel to China. As mentioned earlier, this is the only country under a DO NOT Travel advisory in the world. For now, postpone that trip to China.
For everywhere else across the globe, travelers can curb the risk of catching or transmitting the COVID-19 or coronavirus or ANY virus for that matter by frequently washing their hands, avoiding touching your face or lips and coughing into the crook of your elbow and not into the air.
Additionally, try to avoid contact with anyone that is sick. If you do suspect that you have been in contact with someone that tested positive for coronavirus, you should wait and postpone travel for at least two weeks.
One very important item you should take along with you on your next trip is a small first-aid travel kit, regardless of the threat of a virus. It doesn’t have to take up much space but will go to great lengths to protect you while traveling.
Can I get coronavirus from pets or beer? Myths and misinformation dispelled.
Perceived emergencies and threats to the health of humans has always spawned off a plethora of coronavirus misinformation and myths. Believe it or not, the popular Mexican-beer Corona has been blamed as the culprit for the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has addressed this myth and even social media has taken steps to tap down this rumor.
No, you cannot catch nor did the coronavirus spread due to drinking Corona beer. The origins of the word “corona” is crown, and the virus earned its name because of its spikey thorns when viewed under a microscope.
Another myth making its way around social media and the internet is that pets can catch and transmit the virus.
In fact, images of pets in surgical masks have since emerged. Good luck getting your pooch to wear a mask longer than a nano-second, but you are not going to catch coronavirus from your dog or cat.
Your furry family member does not carry human pathogens of the coronavirus. In fact, feel free to travel with your pet as well.
There are no special tonics that will cure or help curb the coronavirus. And like all viruses, leftover antibiotics will not help. Lastly, keep in mind that this is not the first time the world has been faced with viruses and we have managed to survive all of those.
Travel is and still can be safe by taking these basic precautions and staying informed.
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance for any coming trips. In fact, travel insurance is always a good idea. Check out our article on International Travel FAQs for more information on booking your next trip.
Author Bio: Angie Cavallari is a Lifestyle & Pop Culture Expert and author of Trailer Trash: an ‘80s Memoir. She has authored thousands of blogs and articles with some of her work featured in Huffington Post, The Reset, Go World Travel, among others. When she is not traveling, she is spending time with her kids and her precocious pug, JJ.