*Updated February 19, 2020*
The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus (now named SARS-CoV-2) outbreak a public health emergency. It’s essential for travelers to take steps to protect their health, and for travel managers to be aware of health risks that may arise due to this virus.
What Do You Need to Know?
Coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019. Since then, more than 2,130 people have died in mainland China and more than 75,777 people have been infected worldwide.
- 72,528 cases in China
- 804 cases outside of China, including;
- 287 cases in Asian Countries outside of mainland China, PRC (Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and others)
- 15 cases in Australia
- 46 cases in Europe
- 8 cases in Canada
- 15 cases in The United States
Many cities in China are currently under quarantine, including Wuhan, Huanggang, Chiba and Ezhou – in hopes of preventing the disease from further spreading.
The illness comes with pneumonia-like symptoms and is linked to the family of viruses that include SARS and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Is it Safe to Travel?
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended avoiding nonessential international travel to China. In an effort to contain the virus, Chinese authorities have also suspended all air and train travel in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak is thought to originate. Hong Kong has limited travel from mainland China, suspending high-speed rail service and cutting flights by half.
Travel Managers should work closely with their Risk Management divisions, monitoring travel to mainland China until further restrictions are lifted.
For international travel to other regions, your travelers should anticipate delays upon entering and leaving certain major travel hubs including airports in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Hong Kong, Heathrow, Paris, London, San Francisco, Rome and several others. These airports have stepped up extensive health screenings for passengers arriving from China to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The threat for coming into contact with the coronavirus while traveling within the U.S. is quite low. However, universal precautions should still be taken.
What Airlines are Impacted?
Below is a list of major airlines that have restricted travel to mainland China:
American Airlines – Flights between Dallas and Los Angeles and mainland China, and between Los Angeles and Hong Kong suspended through April 24; Dallas-Hong Kong routes suspended through April 23
United Airlines – Suspended until April 24
Delta – Suspended until April 30
Air Canada – Suspended until February 29
Asia and Oceania
Air Asia – Some flights suspended until February 29
All Nippon – Some flights suspended until March 29
Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon – 90% reduction in flights
Japan Airlines – Some flights suspended until March 28
Korean Air – Some flights suspended until the end of March
Singapore Airlines and SilkAir – Some flights suspended until March 1
Qantas – Suspended until March 29
Air New Zealand – Suspended until March 29
Europe and the Middle East
Air France – Beijing and Shanghai flights suspended through March 15; Wuhan flights resume March 29
British Airways – Suspended until February 29
Virgin Atlantic – London-Shanghai flights suspended until March 28
Lufthansa, Swiss and Austrian Airlines – Beijing and Shanghai flights suspended until February 29; other routes until March 28
Turkish Airlines – Suspended until the end of February
Etihad – Some flights suspended from February 5; service continues to Beijing
Emirates – Some flights suspended from February 5; service continues to Beijing
Qatar Airways – Suspended until further notice
Finnair – Beijing and Shanghai flights suspended until February 29; other routes to March 29
KLM – Beijing and Shanghai flights suspended through March 15; other routes through March 28
Iberia – Suspended until February 29
Precautions to Take
While traveling, be sure to take precautionary measures recommended by the CDC, such as;
- Washing your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds
- Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, especially your nose, eyes and mouth
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Keeping hand sanitizer with you and use it often
- Maintaining your personal health: Get plenty of sleep, eat well-rounded meals, and exercise
If you begin to feel cold-like symptoms, see your healthcare provider, avoid close contact with others, clean and disinfect your desk area and other surfaces, and stay home to rest.
Travel Incorporated will continue to monitor and communicate all news and the impact to your travelers. You can view our most recent alerts by clicking the megaphone icon at the top right of our webpage, or by visiting https://www.travelinc.com/ti-alerts/.