Should I Travel? What You Need to Know About Coronavirus and Traveling | Travel

The worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus currently exceeds 100,000 confirmed cases across more than 100 countries. The virus originated in central China in late 2019, and its spread has crippled the travel and event industries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has continuously updated its travel advisories for flights, cruises and international travel. It has also created recommendations to fight the spread of coronavirus in local communities. (U.S. News is keeping an updated list of the confirmed cases across the United States.) The cancellation or postponement of high-profile events, such as South by Southwest in Austin, Texas, and Ultra Music Festival in Miami, has upended many travel plans. The CDC breaks its warning levels into three categories: Warning Level 3: Avoid all nonessential travel.
Alert Level 2: Talk to a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel.
Watch Level 1: Exercise increased caution during travel.
The CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel (Warning Level 3) to the following destinations: China, Iran, South Korea and Italy. The CDC also advises against cruise travel, which puts people from around the world in close contact with one another. Avoiding Coronavirus While TravelingTo reduce the spread of coronavirus while traveling, the CDC recommends travelers take the following precautions: Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Practice routine handwashing: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. (If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60% to 95% alcohol.)
If traveling on a cruise, stay in your cabin when you are sick and let the onboard medical center know immediately if you develop a fever (100.4°F or higher), begin to feel feverish, or have other symptoms (such as cough, runny nose, shortness of breath or sore throat).
What Areas are Most Affected By the Coronavirus OutbreakThe coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China, and reportedly had some link to a large seafood and animal market in the area. Person-to-person spread is possible and accounts for the quick proliferation of the virus. Subsequently, many of the initial regions most affected by the coronavirus outbreak are near mainland China. The outbreak has spread to Europe and North America as well, with Italy, Iran and South Korea reporting the most confirmed cases. The CDC is reporting many instances in the United States, with multiple confirmed cases on both coasts, as well as numerous cases in the county’s interior. (Note: The following numbers were collected from the World Health Organization and were accurate at the time of publication. As this is an ongoing event, the data will be updated as more information and reports become available.)Asia: The CDC currently lists China and South Korea as Warning Level 3 and recommends that travelers avoid nonessential travel. It also lists Japan under Alert Level 2, meaning that travelers should undertake special precautions, especially high-risk travelers including, older adults and those with chronic medical conditions. Hong Kong is listed as a Watch Level 1, so travelers visiting there should practice usual precautions. Country
 Total Confirmed Cases 
Total Deaths
China
                                 80,904
3,123
Republic of Korea
                                   7,382
51
Japan
                                       488
7
Singapore
                                       150
0
Malaysia
                                         93
0
Vietnam
                                         30
0
Philippines
                                         10
1
Cambodia
                                            2
0
Europe: The CDC currently lists Italy under Warning Level 3 and recommends that travelers avoid nonessential travel. The entire country of Italy is under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, per orders from the Italian prime minister. The rest of Europe is currently not under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed. Note: The following chart shows the 20 European countries with the highest number of coronavirus cases.Country
Total Confirmed Cases
Total Deaths
Italy
                                   7,375
366
France
                                   1,116
19
Germany
                                   1,112
0
Spain
                                       589
10
Switzerland
                                       332
2
The United Kingdom
                                       277
2
Netherlands
                                       265
3
Sweden
                                       203
0
Belgium
                                       200
0
Norway
                                       169
0
Austria
                                       112
0
Greece
                                         73
0
Iceland
                                         55
0
San Marino
                                         37
1
Denmark
                                         36
0
Czechia
                                         32
0
Finland
                                         30
0
Portugal
                                         30
0
Ireland
                                         21
0
Slovenia
                                         16
0
North America: Nowhere in North America is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.Country
Total Confirmed Cases
Total Deaths
United States of America
                                       213
11
Canada
                                         62
0
Mexico
                                            7
0
Central America and the Caribbean: Nowhere in Central America and the Caribbean is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.Country
Total Confirmed Cases
Total Deaths
Costa Rica
                       9
0
Martinique
                       2
0
Saint Martin
                       2
0
Saint Barthelemy
                       1
0
Dominican Republic
                       1
0
South America: Nowhere in South America is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.Country
Total Confirmed Cases
Total Deaths
Brazil
                                         25
0
Ecuador
                                         15
0
Argentina
                                         12
0
Chile
                                         10
0
Peru
                                            6
0
French Guiana
                                            5
0
Colombia
                                            1
0
Paraguay
                                            1
0
Australia and the South Pacific: Nowhere in Australia is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.Country
Total Confirmed Cases
Total Deaths
Australia
                                         77
3
New Zealand
                                            5
0
Africa: Nowhere in Africa is listed under a CDC travel notice for coronavirus, although numerous cases of coronavirus have been confirmed.Country
Total Confirmed Cases
Total Deaths
Algeria
                                         20
0
Senegal
                                            4
0
South Africa
                                            3
0
Cameroon
                                            2
0
Nigeria
                                            2
0
Togo
                                            1
0
Coronavirus and Air TravelThe CDC says that the risk of infection on an airplane is low due to how air circulates and is filtered. Many airlines have also adopted more thorough cleaning measures between flights, and several airlines have canceled flights to and from outbreak areas like mainland China. Still, high-risk travelers may want to rethink their plans. To accommodate, many airlines are waiving change and cancellation fees. Keep in mind that travelers still have to make up the difference in rates for rebooked flights, and many of these policies have strict deadlines for when travel must be rescheduled. Below are the most recent cancellation policies for the top U.S. Airlines:American Airlines Coronavirus Update: Any ticket purchased from March 1 to March 31, 2020, will not be subject to change fees.Alaska Airlines Coronavirus Update: Travelers can cancel their trip and receive a credit for fares purchased between Feb. 27 and March 31, 2020. Rebooked travel must begin by Feb. 28, 2021.Allegiant Air Coronavirus Update: Travelers can make a one-time change to their travel plans without change or cancellation fees by contacting customer service via phone, email or social media.Delta Air Lines Coronavirus Update: Tickets issued before March 9 for flights through April 30, 2020, as well as all tickets issued between March 1 and March 31, 2020, can be changed one time to an alternate itinerary. Additionally, all flights through May 31, 2020, to Shanghai and Beijing, China; Seoul, South Korea; and all locations in Italy can be changed one time to an alternate itinerary. Unused value can be transferred to the purchase of a new ticket, but rebooked travel must begin by Feb. 28, 2021. Frontier Airlines Coronavirus Update: Flights scheduled to depart between March 3 and March 16, 2020, can be changed without fees. The new flights must be completed by June 1, 2020, and must be booked within 90 days of the initial cancellation. Hawaiian Airlines Coronavirus Update: Tickets purchased between March 1 and March 31, 2020, include a waiver for a one-time change per ticket without fees. JetBlue Airways Coronavirus Update: Bookings made from Feb. 27 to March 31, 2020, for travel through Sept. 8, 2020, can be refunded for a credit that’s valid for one year.Southwest Airlines Coronavirus Update: Funds used to pay for a flight can be applied to future flights as long as a reservation is canceled at least 10 minutes prior to the scheduled departure. The funds are valid for up to one year from the original purchase date.Spirit Airlines Coronavirus Update: Reservations made seven or more days before a scheduled departure date can be canceled for free within 24 hours of the original booking. All other modifications incur a fee. United Airlines Coronavirus Update: Tickets issued between March 3 and March 31, 2020, can have the value of the ticket applied to a new ticket without fee for up to one year from the original ticket issue date. Numerous airlines have also canceled or altered their itineraries to avoid travel to China. Note: The above waivers and flexible travel options only apply if you booked directly with the airline. If you booked with a third-party site, such as Expedia or Booking.com, you’ll need to get in touch with the third-party service to ask about a refund or flight credit. Coronavirus and HotelsMost hotel chains are waiving rebooking and cancellation fees for guests traveling to, through or from China and Italy. They are also updating their rewards programs to accommodate members in impacted areas. Marriott Hotels Coronavirus Update: Cancellation fees will be waived for travelers coming from impacted areas and for hotel stays in those areas through March 31, 2020. The list of areas includes mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Italy.IHG Hotels & Resorts Coronavirus Update: Guests traveling to, through or from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea and Italy before March 31, 2020, can change or cancel their bookings. Hyatt Hotels Coronavirus Update: Guests traveling to, through or from South Korea, Japan and Italy will have cancellation fees waived for stays through March 31, 2020.Hilton Hotels Coronavirus Update: Guests traveling to, through or from China, Italy, South Korea and Saudi Arabia are eligible for modification and cancellation waivers for stays before March 31, 2020.Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Coronavirus Update: Guests traveling to or from China, South Korea or Italy will have their cancellation or change penalties waived for stays through March 31, 2020.Coronavirus and CruisesThe U.S. Department of State warned that Americans, especially those with underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. This is due to the increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment, according to the CDC. The Cruise Lines International Association has implemented various new procedures and screening measures that it requires its member cruise lines to abide by during the coronavirus outbreak. Deny boarding to all persons who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in South Korea, Iran, China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and any municipality in Italy subject to quarantine measures by the Italian government, as designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, within 14 days prior to embarkation.
Conduct illness screening for all who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in any destinations listed on the U.S. CDC Coronavirus Disease Information 2019 for Travel page within 14 days before embarkation. Illness screening includes symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and taking of temperature.
Conduct temperature screening, as soon as they are capable, at initial embarkation for all passengers boarding. Any individual with a temperature detected at or above 100.4° F is to receive secondary screening to include a medical assessment.
Deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
Conduct preboarding screening necessary to enforce these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.
The following cruise lines have announced responses to the coronavirus outbreak, with some temporarily modifying cancellation policies:Azamara Coronavirus Update: Guests booked on a cruise from now through July 31, 2020, can cancel up to 48 hours before departure and receive future cruise credit. The credit must be used by Dec. 31, 2021. The cruise line is also adopting additional screening and safety precautions, and following CLIA’s recommendations. Anyone who is denied boarding due to safety protocols will receive a full refund.Carnival Cruise Line Coronavirus Update: Travelers booked on sailings leaving between March 9 and 31, 2020, can rebook for a future date up to three days before sailing. Guests booked on cruises that depart between April 1 and May 31, 2020, can move their bookings to a future date by March 31, 2020. Travelers who keep their itineraries will receive an onboard credit up to $200, depending on the cruise length. Celebrity Cruises Coronavirus Update: Cruisers can cancel trips up to 48 hours before sailing and receive a credit for a future cruise. This applies to any itineraries that depart through July 31, 2020.Crystal Cruises Coronavirus Update: Guests who are currently booked on a cruise, and anyone who books a new cruise through April 30, 2020, are able to cancel up to 31 days before sailing for a full credit for a future cruise on or before Dec. 31, 2021.Disney Cruise Line Coronavirus Update: Cruisers booked to travel between now and May 31, 2020, can cancel trips up to 24 hours before departure and will be able to receive a credit for a future cruise within a year of the original sail date.Norwegian Cruise Line Coronavirus Update: Guests must complete a pre-embarkation health questionnaire and the cruise line is complying with all CLIA screening recommendations and boarding denials. Anyone who is denied boarding will be issued a 100% credit toward a future cruise. Any new or existing bookings departing between March 10 and Sept. 30, 2020, can be canceled up to 48 hours prior to sailing for a 100% credit on a future cruise. The credit can be used for any cruise on or before Dec. 31, 2022.Princess Cruises Coronavirus Update: Those booked on a cruise for April 3, 2020, or earlier can cancel up to 72 hours before sailing for a full future cruise credit. Cruisers set to depart between April 4 and May 31, 2020 can cancel by March 31, 2020, and receive a 100% refund for a future cruise credit. Travelers set to depart between June 1 and 30, 2020, will have their final cruise payment moved back to be due 60 days prior to sailing (it is typically due 75 to 90 days before sailing). Those who keep their trips are eligible for onboard cruise credits of up to $200, depending on the cruise length.Regent Seven Seas Coronavirus Update: Cruisers booked on a trip through Sept. 30, 2020, can cancel up to 48 hours before departure and receive a 100% credit toward a future cruise. Royal Caribbean Coronavirus Update: Travelers can cancel up to 48 hours before they sail and get credit toward a future cruise. This applies for cruises from now through July 31, 2020, and the cruise credit is valid through Dec. 31, 2021.Viking Coronavirus Update: Cruisers can postpone their cruise up to any time until 24 hours prior to departure, without any cancellation fees. Travelers will be issued a voucher for future travel that’s valid for 24 months. This applies to those who have already booked a cruise with Viking and for any new reservations made through April 30, 2020.Numerous cruise lines have also canceled or altered their itineraries to avoid travel and shore excursions to China, South Korea, Hong Kong, Macau and northern Italy. Coronavirus Travel Deals and DiscountsThe uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus has prompted some to cancel travel plans and wait to book future trips. With that, many flight prices have dropped drastically. There are deals available worldwide and changing daily, including:Philadelphia to London for less than $500 round-trip
New York City to London for less than $400 round-trip
New York City to Paris for less than $400 round-trip
Boston to Paris for less than $400 round-trip
San Francisco to Montreal for less than $350 round-trip
Atlanta to San José, Costa Rica, for less than $300 round-trip
Washington, D.C, to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for less than $300 round-trip
Washington, D.C., to San Francisco for less than $300 round-trip
Los Angeles to Miami for less than $200 round-trip
Chicago to Miami for less than $100 round-trip
Most of these cheap flights are available through mid-May. All of the above deals were found via searches on Google flights for trips in March, April and May.Meanwhile, two major cruise lines are offering travelers incentives to keep their bookings: Carnival Cruise Line and Princess Cruise Line will allow passengers already booked on a cruise between now and May 31 to receive up to $200 in onboard credit if they keep their bookings. Credit amount depends on length of cruise.Coronavirus Travel InsuranceTravel insurance related to delays and cancellations of trips due to the coronavirus outbreak is complicated. Typically, travel insurance will not cover problems related to the coronavirus outbreak because it has been dubbed a “known event.” It received that designation on Jan. 22, 2020. Additionally, many travel insurance policies often exclude coverage for issues that come up as a result of pandemics or epidemics.However, if you’ve purchased “cancel for any reason” coverage you may be in luck. This type of add-on insurance typically guarantees that a traveler will receive at least 50% to 75% of their insured nonrefundable and prepaid trip costs and deposits should the vacation be canceled for any reason not already covered. Keep in mind, this type of insurance must be purchased within a set number of days from the first payment (usually 21 days or less). So, if you booked a trip in January for travel in May, you are unable to go back and add that type of coverage to your trip. The trip must also be canceled at least two days prior to departure to take advantage of the cancel for any reason coverage.In some cases, your credit card may provide travel insurance and cover trip cancellations. Read more about if your credit card travel insurance covers the coronavirus here.Note: Numbers, figures and information were accurate at the time of publication. This is an evolving story and updates will be made as they become available.

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