Coronavirus is an infectious illness that originated in the city of Wuhan of China. This particular strain, known as COVID-19, mutated from other coronaviruses and has proven especially difficult to treat. It has already caused fatalities in the elderly and demographics with compromised immune systems. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has spread to other countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Nigeria, Brazil, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Australia, New Zealand, and most countries in Europe and Asia. Nearly 100,000 people have been confirmed infected by the disease, which has caused over 3,000 deaths. However, it’s assumed that the numbers may be higher due to people with mild symptoms, which can include a fever and coughing, not being tested for the virus. The World Health Organization has declared a public health emergency due to the infection.
Protecting Yourself from Coronavirus
Understandably, people would worry about contracting COV-ID, especially if they live or travel in areas with confirmed infections. The Centers for Disease Control warns that most people will only have mild symptoms. However, those people with health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, and diabetes are at risk of more severe illness and potential illnesses.
Although people have taken to wearing masks to protect themselves from contracting the virus, this is ineffective and may actually harm those who have not already been infected. The best time to wear a mask is to protect others from the virus if you already have become infected by coronavirus.
For those who want to protect themselves from the infection, the CDC advises frequent handwashing for a full twenty seconds when possible and the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand washing is not an option. Furthermore, people should avoid touching their face if their hands are not properly cleaned as this can introduce the virus into their eyes, mouth, and nose. If possible, travelers should avoid contact with animals and crowds, which may impact where people choose to travel.
Traveling During the Coronavirus Outbreak
The United States has already suspended entry for some foreign nationals and has implemented monitoring who travelers who may have come into contact with the virus.The government has warned against nonessential air travel to several countries, including the following:
- South Korea
Furthermore, the U.S. government recommends boarding cruise ships, and several American tech companies have canceled conferences.
Can Travelers Insurance Help If Coronavirus Impacts Your Vacation?
Travelers should avoid countries where travel is not advised; however, they should consider how COVID-19 can impact their plans in other ways. For example, they may be forced to return home if the government increases the warning level of their vacation destination country. Suspended flights could prevent travelers from leaving at all or could leave them stranded in a foreign country. Additionally, travelers may face unexpected medical expenses should they become infected with coronavirus while away from home. Travelers can consider visitors insurance, a type of health insurance which can help offset these medical costs, just make sure the policy includes coverage from pandemics viral outbreaks.
Pallavi Sadekar, Client Services Executive of insurance company Visitor Guard has been quoted as saying, “All travelers should safeguard themselves with visitors health insurance and become familiar with coverages included during travel for health and financial protection in the case of illness during travel. Visitors insurance covers emergency health expenses, prescriptions, tests, and in and outpatient services, prescriptions, and tests. With flights cancelling and attractions closing, travelers should protect their investment with trip insurance to cover costs of cancelling plans due to coronavirus.”
The current coronavirus outbreak makes travel insurance more important than ever. However, there are situations when this insurance cannot help. According to one expert, “Travelers should be prudent about reviewing plan benefits and exclusions before purchasing. Sometimes differences in premiums are negligible for plans that can cover for epidemics and political (or disaster) evacuations. It is also important to closely monitor Travel Advisory published by the Department of State. Specifically, the plans will not offer any benefits for expenses arising from destinations carrying an official Level 4 Do Not Travel Advisory.”
Meanwhile, travelers should be aware of the infection’s spread and keep an eye out for any coronavirus update.
Even though travelers insurance can protect you in some instances, it is not a replacement for a common-sense approach to disease prevention. If you have not yet set your plans in stone, consider postponing travel until the outbreak is better contained or picking a destination that is less populated and has yet to have a confirmed case of COVID-19.