What You Need To Know About The Coronavirus and Travel
Unless you live under a rock, you've been following the news regarding the coronavirus. You know, the news media that keeps telling us that we're all going to die of this deadly, new disease? Ok, maybe they don't say that, but that is certainly what they are implying. It's time to set the record straight. Here in the travel world, we've been bombarded with questions about whether or not our guests should travel due to this outbreak and I wanted to take a moment this morning to give you the real scoop on coronavirus and travel. What should you do if you have travel booked? 1. Consult a qualified health professional. According to the CDC, most people who catch the virus will have a mild illness, but there are certain groups such as elderly people and those with underlying health conditions where contracting the virus could cause serious problems. Speak with your doctor to find out if you are at risk and to decide whether travel is appropriate. 2. Check the CDC website. The CDC provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. A list of destinations with travel notices is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.
Warning Level 3: CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices because of the risk of getting COVID-19.
Alert Level 2: Because COVID-19 can be more serious in older adults and those with chronic medical conditions, people in these groups should talk to a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel to destinations with level 2 travel notices.
Watch Level 1: CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with level 1 travel notices because the risk of COVID-19 is thought to be low. Currently, only four countries are at a Warning Level 3 -- China, Iran, South Korea and Italy -- and one country is at a Alert Level 2 -- Japan. All other countries are at a Watch Level 1. 3. Stop watching the news! The news media is your least reliable source for information about this virus and the conflicting and sensationalized information may make your head explode. Dr. Drew Pinsky has a great take on the coronavirus and the news media here. Many guests have said to me, "Christine, what would you do?" Personally, I'm still traveling. In fact, I booked three flights today to three different destinations. I will be watching the CDC guidelines and, if any of my intended destinations reaches a Level 3 warning, I will change my plans. Until then, I am anticipating a work trip to Turks and Caicos, a mom/daughter vacation with my mom to Mexico and a work/friend trip to Key West and Bimini. My advice: Talk to your doctor, get your information from qualified sources and, unless they tell you otherwise, keep traveling! Happy Travels!