Coronavirus (Covid-19): How to manage your Travel?

The much anticipated, bright, hopeful start of the new decade, 2020, unfortunately, hasn’t been going quite as planned. Starting with the devastating Australian bush fires, earthquakes in Puerto Rico, a few other disasters, and now finally this - the COVID-19. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would have heard about the new Coronavirus, a.k.a COVID-19. Officially confirmed as a pandemic by the WHO (World Health Organization), the Coronavirus is continuing to drastically affect every aspect of this planet.


Among the most affected domains, the major one is travel. With several countries placing bans, urging the public to avoid non-essential travel, and taking preventive measures, travelling has become difficult. However, in a few cases, travelling is more of a necessity than just for pleasure. Through this article, we will help you manage your essential travel in the midst of this Coronavirus outbreak.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, in general, is a family of viruses that causes a wide range of illnesses ranging from the common cold to more serious respiratory diseases like MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome). The COVID - 19 (Coronavirus Disease) is the newest strain of the family that was discovered in humans in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in China in December 2019. Having never been identified before, this virus has taken the entire world by a storm.

Currently, the virus has affected over 199,000 people (identified) and claiming over 8000 lives across the planet. And this number is continuing to rise every day. However, the only silver lining here is that the fatality rate of the virus is only a little over a mere 4 per cent.  The major countries affected by this include China, most of Europe, and the US. Although, the virus has spread to several other countries as well.

what is coronavirus

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

Being primarily a lower respiratory virus, common coronavirus symptoms include respiratory symptoms such as common cold, fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. However, in severe cases, the infection can lead to pneumonia, SARS, kidney failure, and even death.

Precautions to be taken while travelling

Obviously, the safest thing to do in the midst of all the chaos is to avoid travelling. But at the same time, there are a few precautions you can take if you wish to travel, be it for business, work, medical treatment, or even tourism. These will ensure that you are at considerable safety from getting infected while enjoying your trip.

Air filtration and circulation mechanisms in airplanes ensure that germs and viruses don’t spread easily. As a result, airplanes are generally considered safe from infection. On the other hand, travel by cruise is highly risky. As a result, avoid that as much as possible.

Maintain good hygiene

coronavirus precautions

The most basic yet important thing you must do is to maintain good hygiene. Some of the steps involved in this include - 

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your face - eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. 
  • Always clean your hands after using the bathroom, before and after eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Stay up to date with your vaccinations. 
  • Carry a hand sanitizer while travelling. 
  • Avoid touching public areas such as elevator buttons, handrails, escalators rails, door handles, etc as best as possible. 
  • Keep handshakes and other physical contact to bare minimum.  
  • If you have travelled in the past 14 days, monitor your health and practice social distancing. I.e, avoid social gatherings,  and stay away at least 6 feet from them. 

Check if the country accepts tourists

A number of travel regulations have been placed across the globe. Before planning your journey, check if these countries are accepting tourists, as well as perform a research on the risk level in them. As per the CDC (Centre for Disease Control), there are 3 levels of risk for countries - 

Watch Level 1 - Travel is considered relatively safer, but travellers are expected to take preventive measures to avoid spreading or catching the disease. Practice usual precautions.

Alert Level 2 - Older adults and people of all ages who are suffering from chronic medical conditions must consider postponing or avoiding non-essential travel. Also, practice enhanced precautions

Warning Level 3 - All travellers to these countries must avoid any kind of non-essential travel. Currently - China, UK, Ireland, Iran, South Korea, Most European nations. 

  • United States - The United states will strictly not accept entry if you have been to the countries under the Level 3 category in the past 14 days. 
  • EU - The EU has also closed its borders for 30 days. As a result, you will not be able to visit these countries unless it is extremely necessary. 
  • Australia - Visitors who have been to South Korea, Iran, China, and Italy in the past 14 days will not be granted entry. Apart from this, all visitors in to Australia will be place under ‘self-quarantine’ for 14 days from the date of entry. 

Apart from these, there are several other countries that have imposed bans or added conditional restrictions. You must check these before you plan your journey.

coronavirus outbreak

How visa policy gets affected?

As world travel itself has been significantly affected by the new Coronavirus, one can only expect a stricter visa processing and visa policy changes. With a number of countries placing bans on almost all kinds of non-essential travel, getting a visa is going to be difficult.

Now, in order to get visas for certain countries, you will have to convince why it is necessary for you to travel to the country at this time. This means that you may have to provide additional supporting evidence including documentation. In addition to this, you may even be required to attend visa interviews for most nations.

Once you get your visa and travel to the country, do expect long queues and screening tests at the airports. This is merely to ensure your safety and that of the public in the country.

When can you plan your journey?

If you are capable of following the preventive measures without fail, and if the country is accepting visitors, it is safe to travel. You would not be placing yourself at any risk whatsoever. However, due to human negligence, it is highly likely that there would be occasions when you would forget to wash your hands or follow the precautions. As a result, it is recommended that you postpone any non-essential travel to a safer date. Although, since visa application can now take even longer to process, you may have to start the process right away.

With the whole world coming to a stop, the best you can do is to do your part in making it safe for everyone. Follow basic hygiene, stay at home as much as possile, and travel safe by taking the necessary preventive measures.

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