Covid-19: Should you travel during the coronavirus outbreak?
Published on March 2, 2020 at 09.08
With the coronavirus global death toll surpassing 3,000 and the infection reaching to over 60 countries, travellers across the world are sceptical about going forward their planned itinerary.
According to CNN, experts believe there is no "one-size-fits-all" answer and solid information, including that of the traveller, their companions, destination and more, is key. Since the outbreak, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the US State Department have issued regular travel advisories for destinations where positive cases have been reported.
Advising to monitor these advisories "closely and regularly", Dr Henry Wu, director of Emory Healthcare's TravelWell Center, said, "In the absence of specific advisories, travelers should still consider that situations can change rapidly."
Dr Wu, an assistant professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine's Division of Infectious Diseases, added, "In general, travelers should always assess the importance of a trip, as well as their personal risk tolerance for health dangers and hassle."
While, Baruch Fischhoff, a psychologist and professor in the department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, said that as it is difficult to ascertain where the virus will turn up, it is advisable that every place comes with some degree of risk. He revealed that probability of being stranded by a closed border or quarantined in a hotel or ship is "considerably higher".
Speaking about contracting the infection whilst on a flight, Dr Wu said, "I am unaware of any documented cases of Covid-19 acquired during flights, but I would advise travellers on flights take the usual precautions to prevent respiratory illnesses, including handwashing and refraining from travel while ill."
Dr Wu urged travellers to follow guidance from the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO), including "strict hand hygiene, cough etiquette, avoidance of ill individuals and general social distancing". However, each traveller's risk calculation will be different, according Dr Wu.
"A trip may be fine for some travellers, while the same itinerary can cause significant worry and stress for others," Dr Wu said, adding elderly travellers or those who have other conditions should consider that they might be at higher risk for complications of infections.