Cancelling Or Postponing Travel During The Coronavirus Pandemic
The Novel Coronavirus, also known as COVID19, or lately, the Chinese Virus, has changed the way of life on this planet. With social distancing and lockdowns and constant fear of infection spreads, everybody is wary of each other, of going out of their house, of even the thought of travelling. But what can you do? Business, education, emergencies and pre-planned events compel you to go cross-country or even across the ocean. You might have pre-booked flights or trains and are wondering if you should cancel your plans. Or at least postpone them.
Our little advice: don’t do that before taking all variables and facts into consideration.
Only Travel if it is Essential
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has put out extensive guidelines on the need of the hour. One of these clearly states that you should avoid all non-essential travel, with COVID19 being a pandemic affecting nearly every country on this planet. If it is just another leisure or tourism trip you were going to take, then don’t think twice; cancel or postpone your plans.
Restrict your travel plans to really important business, educational or medical emergencies. And those who think about escaping the COVID19 spread in your area by travelling, here’s the deal. According to WHO, exposing yourself to high temperatures or being in hot humid places does not mean the Coronavirus will not affect you. Neither will escaping cold climes help. So hold your plans to escape to a farflung, isolated island. You are safe just where you are.
Check the Status of your Destination
In case of unavoidable essential travel plans, the first thing you must do is check the medical status of your destination. How many have been infected, what stage of transmission is the country in, what is their medical infrastructure like. In addition to this information, also make sure that the place you are travelling to is relatively safe, and following the WHO guidelines. In case of cross-country travel, you won’t be allowed into any red zones anyway.
Some countries have closed down their borders, others are doing rigorous health checks and screenings of all arriving passengers. Many nations have suspended all visas for the foreseeable future too.
Cancel if it is Cruise Travel
Well, most cruises aren’t operating anyway. So there is no chance of you cancelling or postponing your travel plans. But in case you are bound to be on a cruise in the next couple of months, then the WHO and even America’s CDC strongly advise to cancel. According to WHO, the medical facilities on a cruise ship can be termed as an infirmary and not a hospital. Which is to say, that you will be treated here as you would be by paramedics in an ambulatory care centre. On most cruises, the average age of passengers is between 45-50, with a large population of senior citizens. As shown by various graphs around the world, this age group is the most susceptible to the virus and shows a higher death rate. Another big drawback of ship travel is that it docks on various ports, becoming a magnet for innumerable communicable diseases; in this case, the novel Coronavirus.
In the last 30 years, as many as 100 disease outbreaks have been reported by cruise travel. From measles to rubella to hepatitis A; a cruise is a minefield of diseases.
Keep your Vaccines Up-to-Date
For most people around the world, the Universal Vaccination Programs have kept you protected from most diseases. You may have been vaccinated at birth, or for a few formative childhood years. Many women also receive a number of vaccine boosters for diseases like mumps, measles and TB during pregnancy. So if you are going to travel during this delicate period, make sure all your vaccinations are up to date, and that you are safe from all those diseases. Because we all know that co-morbidities/diseases along with Coronavirus complicate matters, even in healthy young people.
Do not Travel if you are Ill, Pregnant, or have Co-morbidities
Cancel your travel plans, even the important ones, if you are any of the above. For ill people, your immune system is already compromised and fighting one enemy. You are prone to easily succumb to another like Coronavirus. For pregnant ladies, until recently there wasn’t any indication of a foetus inheriting the disease from its mother, but lately cases of newborns contracting Coronavirus from the delivering doctors, midwives or nurses are creating horror stories in most countries. So refrain from travelling and stay where you are. Patients with co-morbidities like depression, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer etc must refrain from even leaving the house, forget travelling.
Postpone Travel to Severely Hit Places
This one goes without saying. Don’t hesitate to postpone or even cancel travel to counties like China (the source of the virus), USA, Italy, Spain, Iran, UK etc, and Indian cities like Mumbai, Pune, Indore, Jaipur, Delhi and Kolkata. The novel Coronavirus has spread like wild fire in these particular places; and for what it’s worth, according to WHO, COVID19 is not going away any time soon.
Keeping the high population density in these places in mind, you must understand that even when the spread is contained and the curve of infection flattens, it will be a long time before these places recover fully to welcome visitors.