Given the recent outbreak of Wuhan coronavirus and the minimal amount of information available to the public surrounding the illness, frequent business travelers are understandably concerned. How can you stay safe as the story unfolds?
Health Officials Urge Vigilance
If you are your employees travel globally, it is essential to remain aware of the virus. Take the same preventative measures you would avoid an influenza outbreak. As common sense dictates, avoid traveling to areas with a high incidence of Wuhan coronavirus, remaining vigilant about health and hygiene while traveling.
Travel to China Discouraged
Seasoned business travel agents know avoiding contact with those who are infected is key to preventing the Wuhan coronavirus infection. Travel to China is understandably discouraged by the U.S. State Department as well as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Both have escalated warnings about traveling to China to the highest level, designating a “Level 4: Do not travel” from the former, while the latter cautions against unnecessary travel to the country.
U.S. Enforcing Travel Restrictions & Quarantines
To stop the spread of the virus and ensure the health of travelers, the U.S. government is stepping up travel restrictions. Any U.S. citizen visiting China’s Hubei Province is subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine. Those traveling to mainland China must undergo screening at one of only 11 designated airports stateside. Those deemed clear of symptoms are being re-booked to their final destination and told to “self-quarantine” for up to two weeks within their homes.
The U.S. government and corporate travel management companies are not the only entities with concerns surrounding the novel coronavirus. The World Health Organization has declared the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. The United Kingdom and Canada have also issued travel warnings. In addition, the U.S., U.K., France, and South Korea have evacuated citizens from Wuhan.
Airlines Worldwide are Cancelling Flights to/from China
Tens of thousands of flights have been canceled, leaving business travel planners scrambling for solutions. American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta, and Air Canada have suspended or reduced flights to and from mainland China, as have dozens of other global air carriers. Most are offering refunds or travel vouchers. Hotels are also responding to the outbreak, waiving cancellation fees in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Macau.
Travel Insurance May Not Cover Costs
Most standard trip cancellation insurance policies will not cover the outbreak of a virus, except for those who purchased a Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) insurance upgrade. Contacting your travel insurance provider directly for details is advised.
Common Sense Travel Precautions
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Frequently and thoroughly wash hands.
- Use hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
- Do not travel while sick.
Ensure the safety of traveling employees. Learn more about ways to streamline business travel and avoid common issues with the help of GTI Travel today.