Should I cancel my trip to Europe because of the Covid-19 Coronavirus outbreak?
In light of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) that is sweeping across the globe, holidaymakers and travelers alike are wondering whether it is safe to travel.
pic courtesy: Maryland.gov
What is Coronavirus?
Information on the UK government website states:
“A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.”
What is the current situation?
You can find the latest and up to date information on Covid-19 here:
EU/EEA and UK: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/cases-2019-ncov-eueea
As of 11 March, there have been over 124,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus spread over 100 countries including Central China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, France, Germany and Spain. This number is increasing on a daily basis. There has been over 4,500 deaths caused by the virus.
The majority of these cases are in China with over 80,000 cases. The coronavirus has now spread into Europe and Italy has the second largest number of cases – over 12,400.
At the end of January 2020, the World Health Organisation declared the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and is now a pandemic.
Now the virus has spread into Europe, many are asking the question, “Should I cancel my trip to Europe because of the Coronavirus outbreak?”
What’s happening in Europe?
There have been confirmed cases of the Coronavirus occurring daily in Europe with the majority of cases throughout northern Italy. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office states that they are now:
“Advising against all but essential travel to Italy. This measure also meets the controls and restrictions imposed by the Italian authorities who have advised against travel for tourism purposes throughout Italy.
On 22 February, the government of Italy began locking down several towns including the whole of the Lombardy region and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini (all in Emilia Romagna); Pesaro e Urbino (in Marche); Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli (all in Piemonte); Padova, Treviso and Venezia (in Veneto). The authorities confirm that trespassers who are not health or supply workers will be fined or be sent to prison.”
Whilst the majority of Coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Italy, all 26 of the Schengen countries have been affected – some more than others.
|Total Countries: 26||21,961||925||1,279|
|As of 11 March 2020|
The European Union are taking measures to stop the virus spreading including providing travel and medical advice and stricter border controls. As of today, the Schengen borders are still open, so you can still travel freely between the Member States, however, this may change.
Italy and other countries have cancelled popular events as well as closing cultural and tourist attractions such as museums. Many cafes, restaurants and bars have also been closed.
Should I cancel my trip to Europe?
After Italy, Spain, Germany and France all have over 1,000 cases which have risen considerably in just 2 days. Aside from Italy where all but essential travel is not advisable, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks. The best thing to do is to keep up to date with the latest travel advice by checking the government’s website either in your country or the country you are planning on visiting.
If you are thinking about going to Europe, you need to ask yourself:
- Has the country you are going to been affected?
- Do you have a pre-existing medical/health condition?
- Are you over the age of 60?
- Do you have a weak immune system?
- Will you be covered by your travel insurance if you have already booked your trip and now wish to cancel?
Hopefully, you won’t be affected by the Coronavirus, but to safeguard against it remember to do the following things as advised by the World Health Organisation:
- Wash your hand regularly
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
- Cook meat and eggs thoroughly
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing signs of being unwell
- Follow social distancing
The situation is changing rapidly on a daily basis, so before deciding to travel to Europe or anywhere else in the world, check your government’s website for the latest travel advice.
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