Should I stay or should I go? Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel

Should I stay or should I go? Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel

This  post on Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel was initially published on 29 February and last updated on 13  March, 2010. As the situation changes nearly on the hour, and there is now (21 March 2020) an almost world-wide travel ban, I have decided to stop updating this article but keep this article online as a snapshot of the situation in the first weeks of March 2020. 

For up-to-date international and impartial information, you can refer to the following sources:

The World Health Organisation

John Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Centre Obviously it’s a US institution and given how the US government is dealing with it, I take this with caution, but their interactive map is very good and more up to date than my home country’s government scientific biomedicine institution

https://covid19info.live Even more accessible and illustrative statistics by country. The most impressive data presentation, as well as a newsfeed. Its built by a small team that I know not much about, but using WHO and Johns Hopkins University data, among others.

– end of update- 

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel – there is a lot of anxiety currently about travelling during an outbreak. The worlds largest travel trade fair, the ITB Berlin, has been cancelled for this year – unprecedented in the fairs 55-year history. It caused an uproar as the cancellation came very late and many exhibitors and visitors from all over the world were already on their way to Berlin. And where does that leave us individual travellers?

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel – was the ITB cancellation just the beginning of the standstill?

Panic? Absolutely not! It makes sense and I am disappointed it wasn’t cancelled earlier. From an epidemiologic point of view, it would have been irresponsible to mix thousands of exhibitors with a over hundred thousand visitors in a small space. That’s not taking into account sometimes questionable sanitary facilities,  lack of efficient screening or potential quarantine facilities for such a large number of people.

I feel sorry for those who depend on it for work and may have already left their homes in order to attend.

The media are already full of reports and prognoses on how 2020 will be a terrible year for the travel industry, and social media is buzzing with coronavirus-related discussions. Where I live, worried people have besieged the local governments telephone hotline. When I did the weekly shop today, I noticed more stuff in people’s baskets (including mine). Hand disinfection, face masks and single use gloves have been sold out here for days. People are questioning their travel plans for this year.

Update 13. March 2020: With countries worldwide imposing more travel restrictions and flights and trains being cancelled, I dare say the standstill is happening as we speak. The situation is changing rapidly and I have shelved all but essential travel plans (AKA commute to work and doing a weekly grocery shop). I do go out, though – by bicyle of for a walk in open countryside. Fresh air etc.

What is “the coronavirus” we’re all taking about?

The  novel coronavirus has been termed SARS-CoV-2 and causes and illness termed COVID-19. SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and  CoV for Coronavirus.

The SARS-CoV-2 is a new strain of coronavirus previously unknown in humans. The family of Coronaviridae comprises a number of single-stranded RNA viruses which cause illness in animals and humans. They also have an envelope which is very sensitive to alcohol.

The family of coronaviridae and the rhinovirus family most frequently cause symptoms of the common cold. Different strains of coronavirus caused the SARS Outbreak in 2003 and the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Distress syndrome (MERS) from 2012 onwards. Both these viral illnesses run different courses and have different infection, illlness and mortality rates.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  have good information available on the different types of coronaviridae.

My current situation

I live in Germany. In the past 12 days, the number of confirmed infections with SARS-CoV-2 has risen from 66 when I first published this article on 29 February, to 3139 on 13 March. We have now a number of apparantly reliable online sources, although, given the rapid increase, all measures must be taken regardless of the number of new infections. I previously used this source which is stil useful to check local cases in Germany https://interaktiv.morgenpost.de/corona-virus-karte-infektionen-deutschland-weltweit. It draws from various official cources including Johns Hopkins University and WHO.

When I wrote this article less than a week ago, it was 66 confirmed cases. You go figure.

The map also shows worldwide and historical numbers. There was some map online which showed individual districts, i.e. smaller administrative regions which gave me a false sense of security. Yes, the closest known case might be 10km away, but what about the great mass of the untested, asymptomatic ones? This is not to instil fear, but to illustrate the virus is spreading rapidly all over Europe and that every individuals actions matter.

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel have only become something discussed together since the recent outbreak in Italy, as Italy is a very popular destination for Germans all year round, and there were school holidays in many states. To a somewhat lesser extent, the celebrations of carnival which peaked on 24 February but  mostly went ahead even when we already had a sharp rise in cases.

At present, our state and the neighbouring states have had many recorded cases of infection with the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. I live in the state of Brandenburg a stone’s throw from Berlin. Information available online appears accurate, although I experienced frequent problems accessing the website German equivalent of the CDC, the Robert-Koch-Institute, every day when checking on updates which are essential for my work. After a few days, access is much better.  I also read the relevant sections of the WHO and CDC websites.

As for the German media? Well. I shall refrain to give examples, but objective and matter -of- fact information is rarely available. I am not surprised that people feel anxious. In general, action has been really slow to take any meaningful measures to reassure people (see ITB!). Before most people will find the fairly decent and easily accessible website of our federal Ministry of Health and the Bundeszentrale fuer Gesundheitliche Aufklaerung, they will have probably clicked a dozen of other links.

SARS-CoV-2 and travel and daily life

I work in a hospital and we obviously have measures in place. Altogether I feel pretty safe at work, despite having contact to 50+ new and not always healthy people every day. This hasn’t changed since I first wrote this article, I am aware of the risks and there are now measures in place to strictly separate positive and negative cases, even pre-testing.

To be honest:  I am not terribly scared to contract SARS-CoV-2 as I enjoy good health and have a good support system. Yes, there are the statistics, and many discussions abound on infection rates, death rates, how it’s allegedly more serious than SARS. I am not and epidemiologist or infectious diseases specialist and am not going to join this discussion. Fact is, it has rapidly spread, and where the epicentre of European epidemic is, in ITaly, there has been an alarming rate of people requiring hospital treatment and a higher than average death rate.  I have listed some reliable and regularly updates sources below for further information.

What I am more scared of is a potential mass quarantine and lockdown, being unable to reach my family in other parts of the country. And after getting carried away a little with reading media reports of  and anxious people doing crazy things, acting aggressive, emptying shops of goods and being aggressive towards each other. Every one is allowed to express their fears. Expressing them at the cost of others or for profit is wrong.

Also: Should I become infected, I will be at risk to pass on the virus to others, a large number of whom are immunocompromised. And While I am calmly bracing myself for the weeks to come, I cannot afford to go into quarantine, which I would obviously have to, should I get into contact. With all schools and nurseries set to close from next week onwards, there may be colleagues without childcare forced to stay at home.

There are plenty of foods and hygiene articles in our supermarkets.  You may not be able to buy this or that brand of food, but there are no true food shortages. I also came a little late for the hand sanitizer but to be honest I do not care much for the drug store products. I have some pretty good hand sanitizer alternatives in the house already.  Social media postes about a doctors office in a neighbouring town closed because of suspected contact but there was no infection. As time goes on, the rumour mill has been rumbling about many medical practices closing. Recommendations from my professional body, the association of statutory health insurance registered doctors and our governments central scientific institute for biomedicine are changing almost daily.

Public transport is running but will be curtailed over the next few days and weeks. I have no idea if flights run as scheduled. A look at the Departure Board of one of the Berlin Airports suggest they do with the exception of flights to Italy, the Czech Republic and Russia. However Berlin Airports are very small and do almost no transcontinental flights but rather feeder flights to the larger airports of Munich and Frankfurt. Easyjet is offering extra repatriation flights from Italy. Other budget airlines have cancelled flights en masse.  But as we speak, many airlines chop and change their flight schedules as demand has dropped rapidly.

Will travel put me at an increased risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2?

Being alive puts you at risk of dying. The risk is very low. Leaving the house puts you at a slightly higher risk. Travelling in a confined space with lots of other people puts you at a slightly higher risk of catching air-borne bugs. Travelling to an infected area heightens the risk considerably, so does contact with a person infected with SARS-CoV-2. The answer to this question depends on your location, your intended destination and so many other things.

If you smoke, drink alcohol eat meat and aren’t active,  you put yourself at an increased risk of death.

There is a risk in everything! It is up to you to assess the risk and make an informed decision. In cases where public health is potentially compromised, such as large events, trade fairs etc., it makes absolute sense to reconsider whether to attend because organisers and authorities may appear somewhat indecisive. Is it a reason for panic? No.

But –  with the virus spreading very rapidly over the past two weeks, this risk has increased a lot.

With SARS-CoV-2, there are many unknowns. I think this contributes to people feeling anxious. With Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel, there are even more as for the majority of us, travel is for recreation and therefore not essential. And now, 12 days after I first wrote this the virus has unfortunately travelled faster and more efficiently than all of us and there is a realistic chance of becoming infected.

SARS-CoV-2 has many unknowns

From what we know so far the spread of SARS-CoV-2 cannot always be controlled, and unless you shut down public life completely, there are likely more cases in Europe. The death rate is reported as anything between 0,5 and 4%. A mortality rate of 2% has been reported in Hubei province, and so far is considerably lower in Western Europe. The SARS epidemic killed approximately 35% of infected people.

Treatment of COVID-19 is supportive

A case of COVID-19 cannot treat causatively, meaning there is no medication directed against the virus and its spread.   So At present, there is no vaccination available. Most cases are mild.  Many reported cases with severe course or death were in people with pre-existing medical conditions. So in those severe cases, respiratory failure is common – this will be treated by medications to improve breathing, or by machine-assisted ventilation if the affected become unable to breathe on their own. An anti-viral medication is also currently in pre-clinical testing stages at the time of writing.

Popular holiday destinations in Europe report increasing numbers of cases of

Milan, Venice, the Canary Islands, France… these are popular destinations, and new cases are reported almost on the hour. Everyone will be asking – where will SARS-CoV-2 infections occur next? Will your travel plans be affected?

For the time being, mine have been postponed indefinitely. I have booked some fares in May, but will cancel if the situation changes. A hundred Euro in lost money is not going to hurt me.  I can afford to travel and stay in middle-class hotels,  so be it. I’m slightly annoyed because I cannot take leave easily – I need to give several months notice and co-ordinate leave with my colleages, I cannot travel if a good fare pops up. Well. Its just a small bump.  I feel for those who may have saved for their holidays for a long time, and are now unable to travel.

Epidemics

I have a slight advantage in that I’m a medic and have some basic understanding of epidemics. I  worked through previous epidemics with no long-term ill effects.  In the UK, I experienced NHS winter pressures  when elective surgeries were cancelled to cope with seasonal influenza and norovirus outbreaks. I worked through the swine flu epidemic. I even visited Ghana voluntarily during the Western Africa Ebola virus epidemic.

You remember HIV? When it emerged in the 1980’s,  it was scary because no one knew exactly how the infection spread. HIV seems of little concern in Western Europe now. I hasten to add this isn’t HIV, but HIV was a big unknown at first, and SARS-CoV-2 is relatively little researched prior to the outbreak. In fact, it was only discovered less than six months ago.

We know from experience that an epidemic will reach a peak within months, possibly plateau, then disappear. Laboratories are working on more efficient treatment which is likely to be available some time in the future. And this might sound somewhat fuzzy, but mankind is probably too resilient to be wiped out or severely decimated yet. I think environmental pollution and global warming are far more threatening hazards which will seriously determine how we live  in the future.

Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel – Will you cancel your travel plans?

For me, travel is for relaxation and enjoyment. I work a full time job and my holiday time is precious. I wouldn’t feel happy to travel if I were too worried about falling ill, put others in danger, be stuck in my destination or unable to return home in order to look after my family.

Every one will assess this differently, and I think it is perfectly understandable wishing to cancel your travel plans if you are worried and disinclined to travel. But whoever you made your arrangements with, they got a business to run and depend on tourists for their income.

I do not  take a cancellation lightly. At present, rules are pretty clear-cut: Your carrier cancels a journey, you get your money back. Your Foreign Office advises against travel to your destination, you have a right to cancel and get a full refund in some cases. This usually extends to package holidays and air fares. It is less clear cut in the case of hotels or tours.

You are scared? There are some travel companies who will issue refunds out of goodwill, but I wouldn’t bank on it. I’m really scared of flying  and no one will give me a refund if I decide I am scared because of a report of a plane crash. Fair enough.

Florence on a Sunday morning
Empty piazza in Florence – is this going to become a common sight?

My Travel Plans: Watch and Wait

As always – the best is not to panic. Easier said than done! I looked at my upcoming travel arrangements, checked deadlines for free cancellations and looked up the things I cannot cancel, like flights. I have some trips soon, and I am not going to cancel anything yet.

Coming up soon: London and Tel Aviv

Update: We were due to fly yesterday. Even though we were planning a small family gathering out in the sticks, we decided to cancel in order to minimise our risk to become infected or be stuck un the UK. It hurts even more because Morrissey is playing in London tomorrow night, and the master of all cancellations still appears to be singing at the Wembley Arena tomorrow. But – safety first. I’m mightily annoyed, well, really pissed off for the first time how this is all affecting my travel plans, but in order not to act as a multiplicator for the virus and to keep myself healthy, we let our flight and car hire go (just applied for the tax refund, thank you, Easyjet and your jungle-like flight and car hire web site) and amazingly, the hotel granted us a free cancellation.

That was then: I am due to fly to Britain for an 80th birthday family reunion, and I will absolutely not cancel unless my destination will become an infected area, with travel restriction issued by my foreign office. While I thought it was a bit nuts to hold a birthday celebration for a bunch of wine-happy guys (myself included) during lent when the birthday was back in January. But I didn’t plan it, so I shall happily go along and drink the Great British alcohol-free wine.

Update 6 March 2020: Tel Aviv is CANCELLED

Update: Israel is essentially closed to all tourists, so this is not happening. After what seems like numerous Emails to Easyjet, all I received was an offer to reschedule for free. Which is very generous in theory, but when I try to manage my booking online, it is still showing up the changing fees and the schedule is out until 24. October. What if I want to fly in November, the time I can realistically more than a single day off? Anyway… my inbound flight has been cancelled and my money refunded. It seems logical to Easyjet I can just get the magic carpet out, sneak into Israel despite the travel ban and then take my scheduled flight back five days later, huh. I will certainly take their poor handling of the situation into account when I book my next flight. I might as well go enjoy the super efficient security and metal cutlery of El Al for considerably more money.

Update 5 March: Israel announced yesterday that tourists travelling from certain countries, among them Germany, will no longer be allowed to enter Israel for the time being. This is to prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2. Today I read in the Jerusalem Post that quarantine measures for Americans have  also been discussed. Tourists from all countries are no longer allowed to enter the West Bank. Likewise, travel in Israel has taken a serious downturn according to Haaretz newspaper. Effectively, my Tel Aviv trip has now cancelled itself.

That was then: Shortly after this, I want to fly to Tel Aviv. I planned it as a winter sun trip to get away from dreary German weather. I also wanted to re-visit some Christian sites that were rammed last time and booked accommodation in walking distance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Nativity. Again, Israel has far fewer cases than Germany. Obviously it is a smaller country with fewer inhabitants, most of whom are clustered in a relatively small area around Tel Aviv. I trust the Israeli news reporting and my Foreign Office to issue appropriate travel advice. I can cancel most of my accommodation reservations – and honestly – what loss is a couple hundred Euros if you have to cancel at short notice?

Damage limitation

There’s no need to jump up and down and be angry about the cancelled holiday. In all honesty, I agree with the decision to bar tourists from what they perceived “risky” countries entering. It remains to be seen what effect this will have over the next few weeks.

There was nothing on this last night when I checked my airline, Easyjet. So I emailed them and also asked them on Twitter what their policy is following this announcement. A few hours later, someone messaged me and told me that I can change my flight dates without paying the change fee. This is similar to what I observed for the travellers from Italy, where this rule applied some days before. I’ll keep you updated on how the airline will handle this on individuals.

Update: See above. I did not think much of the customer service from Easyjet, although I see how they get inundated with calls and messages right now. However… if your inbound flight is cancelled and there is a travel ban, surely they should cancel the entire flight? Also, the general legal advice is that in Germany an airline will commit a crime if they transport you despite a travel ban, therefore… all fares should get refunded. I’m going to sit tight on these 40Euros and calmly wait for Easyjet to cancel the return flight closer to the time. I will investigate if the credit card chargeback route might be a viable option. If not… may Easyjet enjoy my 40Euros and lose my business.

I had booked most hotels on Booking.com with a free cancellation option. I always do that  unless my accommodation is extremely cheap. So I just cancelled this accommodation. I had also planned to stay at a pilgrims hospice, and I emailed them and cancelled my reservation. They were obviously aware of the situation and very understanding. And in the end, even past the free cancellation deadline, they made a no penalty cancellation, which is really nice of them.

Then I contacted work and asked to cancel my leave. So I will probably go to work instead. Which is fine by me! I’m not sure what the future will bring.  But I feel better now being around and able to help if the situation becomes worse here.

The big one: Japan in September

We also booked flights to Japan, not so long ago, but well before the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak. I have absolutely no intention of cancelling anything. Same rules as above will apply – the Foreign Office advises against travel or Japan Airlines cancels the flight, then we will cancel. I will monitor the situation. If the situation is ongoing, a cycling trip along the Oder River through some absolutely out-in-the sticks backcountry in my state might be a viable option.

I guess I’m risky anyway

As a healthcare worker, I am always at risk somehow somewhere. Contracting HIV or Hepatitis C through needle-stick injuries is a rare but serious risk,  being assaulted in A&E a very common one! And did I tell you about lack of sleep, stress, burnout, kidney infections because you cannot find time to drink and go to the loo, being exposed to the sniffles for half the year every single day? You live with a few hazards.

I am not overly scared of becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2. I am  more scared of mass quarantine and being unable to return home or to help family. I’ve seen some real poor excuses for human beings. And I am scared there will be a general panic.

Update: And guess what? There are some real poor excuses for human beings, and they are around. All hand sanitizers which are for everyone’s use all over the hospital had to be dismantled because people stole the disinfectant! Several hospitals in my state reported theft of large amounts of sanitizers and breathing masks! I mean, hello? Taking supplies from the most vulnerable! I should not be saying this, but maybe they go up in eternal hellfire flames after dousing themselves with sanitizer. And that’s before all the stock piling that has gone a bit crrrrazy around here. Thankfully, supply chains are good and stock is replenished, and aside from the pictures on social media, I have only seen the shelves slightly thinned out yet.

Japan, me
Photo from my last Japan trip – visiting my friends family farm! You can see it’s been a while

What you can do to to feel more safe in a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak

Don’t panic.

If you feel well, there is no reason to cancel travel plans if your destination is not included in any travel warnings and if you feel assured your family is safe and will cope without you should you get stuck somewhere.  Given the huge increase in cases, I would certainly reconsider now, as the potential risk of an infection has gone up.

Hygiene, Hygiene

Use common sense and maintain a good personal  hygiene.  Wash your hands frequently but especially after visiting the loo, before eating or preparing food, after coughing or sneezing. Washing your hands properly with water and soap should get most bugs off.  If you touched some skanky doorknobs or similar hotbeds for bugs, wash them too. Dont cough or sneeze at people. I mean, come on! This is bloody bad behaviour anyway! Maintain a healthy distance to people, 1-3m if you can.

If you have no water and soap available, use a hand sanitizer. Also clean your hands frequently with an appropriate hand sanitizer if you are ill or look after someone who is ill. Out of hand sanitizer? Check your cupboard for any hand sanitizer alternatives.

This advice is not new and is given regularly especially in winter when there is an increased risk of respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses.

You do not need to ear a surgical mask unless you are ill or immunocompromised or are looking after someone who is. Did you know that many of the over the counter sanitizing hand gels only kill certain bacteria? They are intended for home use and are somewhat more child friendly than the hospital hand disinfectant. So panic buying and using it won’t armour-plate you against the current epidemic.

In general, you can easily follow the WHO Advice for public.

Personally, I am going to avoid any large events that I have not yet committed to for the next week or so. Going to an out of town training session for an entire day? No, don’t think so. I’ll skip big gigs. I’ve never been a fan of carnival, so I’ve already skipped that. I’ve been thinking twice about whether to visit restaurants, but we probably will, although perhaps a bit less than we normally would.

What to do if you feel ill

If you experience mild flu-like symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, feeling run-down, cough, loss of appetite or similar, stay at home, eat light nutritious foods, drink lots and rest! Chances are that you have a common cold unless you had contact with an infected person or have travelled near the infected areas in the past 14 days. And if you get so unwell that you need medical assistance, phone your family doctor, or, if you are really unwell, your local emergency services. Don’t turn up in A&E and risk spreading any infectious agents.

Prepare for self-quarantine

Again, it would be wrong to panic. You do not need a bucket full of disinfectant and a box full of FFP2 masks to efficiently quarantine yourselves at home. What you need depends on your personal situation. You can already find long lists of that you need in case of quarantine, and having read some, they might sound scary, but it is always better to be well prepared.

Get sensible amounts of supplies

By this, I am not referring to the “hamster shoppers” the sad new stars of German social media, but by going through your cupboards and medica cabinets to endure you have enough of what you need in case you fall ill or there are any government quarantine measures.

Personally, I made sure of the following:

I checked our medicines cabinet and ensured I have a months supply of prescription medicine,  analgesics and cough medicine. My medicine cabinet is well-stocked anyway. I prescribed some routine medications for four weeks and bought them.

During my weekly shop, I found that trolleys appeared fuller but shops continue to be well stocked. I usually keep a fairly full cupboard anyway. A while ago, we were both sick with the flu and I was grateful not having to go to shop! We also get a lot of fruit, preserves and nuts from family so our larders are fairly good. I simply bought a couple more tins of what we normally use for cooking, and an one extra packet of pasta and some pulses as the shelves were still heaving. I have herbs growing in the house and garden.

What I did buy  was some extra cat food and cat litter. We have three cats and they haven’t read the news yet and they want to eat and poop.

And bear in mind even in Hubei Province, there has been electricity and enough to eat.

Think of the future

The SARS-CoV-2 is not the first and probably won’t be the last virus to threaten global health at a large scale.  If you are healthy from the outset  you are less likely to fall ill and die. This accounts for most but not all infectious agents.

Peoples eyes glaze over when I tell them that smoking damages their health and advise them to stop. The most common answer? ” I know, but I cannot stop”  Why not? “Because I cannot, its part of me.” Okay, good, but accept the risks. Same goes for alcohol, drugs, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle. All these pose health risks. Are there things you can improve in your own lifestyle? Because the closer to get to good general health, the more you remove risks of serious illness and pre-existing conditions. Being overall healthy is a far bigger factor than taking that one trip. All is relative.

Are you one of those people who feel they don’t need the influenza vaccination? Think again. I admit since I moved from the UK  I have been lax about getting it. In Britain, people could easily obtain the flu jab (on the supermarket, in my hospital corridor). But I shall be better next season – even if it means some inconvenience and traipsing to a different building at work at an inconvenient time. It is free for many, and very affordable for those who cannot get it for free.

Are you other vaccinations up to date? When did you last check your vaccination book? There may be no vaccination against SARS-CoV-2 (yet) but immunity matters.

How to decide whether to travel or not

Update: With number of cases increasing in Europe by the hour and all public gatherings and cultural institutions closed, and schools closing soon, public transport being thinned out, my advice at present would be: Limit yourself to essential travel. Follow travel advice closely and stay informed about any travel restrictions for your country.

This was then: Unless you had planned to travel to a region where there is a travel advisory, only you can sufficiently answer that question. Every one will asses their personal risk differently!

Are you travelling alone? If you get ill or stuck in another country, who looks after your family? If you get ill, who will look after you?

What accommodation do you have booked? Can you extend your stay easily if you are ordered to self quarantine?

Are you generally fit and well? Then a serious illness through SARS-CoV-2 is less likely.

Can you cancel your leave and easily book it some other time? I can’t, because there are at least three other colleagues and their families and clinic bookings more than 6 months ahead to consider. This does have an impact on any travel plans unless in emergencies.

Can you easily cancel your travel arrangements? How much do you bother of losing some of the money you paid upfront already?

 

street art in Florence - blub art pieces are typical in their incorporation of scuba masks
Keeping a clear head and clear vision – including the current SARS-CoV-2 outbreak

So – where does this leave us with Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel?

We have absolutely no idea what the situation will be over the next week or months.  Try to take the situation on a day by day basis.  Take necessary (and realistic) precautions. Use reliable sources of information. So far, the SARS-CoV-2 has made no change to travel I already arranged, but on a small scale, I probably avoid crowded public places indoors more and have ensured I have essential food and hygiene supplies for the next four weeks.

If you were planning to travel, keep an eye on your country’s Foreign Office Travel Advisory.  I generally check the UK Foreign Office for information in English.

Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States have a clear and accessible website with good information online. As the pandemic unfolded, the US approach does not appear the most sensible one to me. So I rather refer to the sources above.

Bear in mind that many local hotel and restaurant owners have businesses to run and they might suffer most from cancellations left, right and centre. Even large tour operators have employees behind them who will  lose their jobs if their company’s incomes tumble. Some people online rely on travel blogs as their source of income. Keep reading travel blogs, don’t stop planning!

And most of all: Don’t panic.   Don’t stockpile essential medical items that may be needed by others.  Help others where you can. Don’t be a potential multiplicator and keep your physical social contacts to a minimum.

As for travel? No virus can stop me from planning! For the time being, I make sure that any accommodation I book can be cancelled free. If I book a flight, it will only be cheap  or refundable ones where not travelling is not going to incur a large financial loss.

The small print on Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and travel

Please note that this is a travel blog and I do not run a telemedicine consultation service.

All information here is based on my personal experience and reading the literature from the sources given. Therefore you understand and acknowledge that all users of this article  are responsible for their own medical care, treatment, and oversight. All of the content provided on the website, including text, treatments, outcomes, photographs, advice and comments are for informational purposes only and does not constitute the providing of medical advice  and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

You also understand and acknowledge that you should never disregard or delay seeking medical advice relating to treatment or standard of care because of information contained in or transmitted through the website.

Medical information changes constantly. Therefore the information on this website or on the linked websites should not be considered current, complete or exhaustive, nor should you rely on such information to recommend a course of treatment for you or any other individual. Reliance on any information provided on this website or any linked websites is solely at your own risk.

However – if you have any question, especially regarding the current situation in Berlin, feel free to contact me.  I will try and answer them as best as I can.

This post may contain affiliate links which means that if you purchase anything through these links, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

For further information, please refer to the Terms and Conditions of this website.

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