Dear Girls on Travel,
I feel like I have to share some information in regard to Covid-19 (AKA Coronavirus) as there seems to be a lot of confusion around it and especially in the travel space as no one seems to know whether travelling is even an option. So hopefully this will be helpful.
First of all, I am not a professional and I think this is the most important thing, don’t rely on social media to make decisions about what to do or not. Facebook groups are full of conversations around it, but the truth is that everybody will have their own version of what it actually means and what to do or not. This is not professional, or government advice, so please check trusted sites like the FCO or WHO if you are concerned about something or want to know more. This is really key to stop spreading information that might not be true and cloud your judgement. On another point, don’t use fear as an excuse for racism and xenophobia either as this has also sadly increased. As a general rule, do your due diligence from trustworthy sources of information.
- Perform hand hygiene frequently, particularly after contact with respiratory secretions. Hand hygiene includes either cleaning hands with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand rub. Alcohol-based hand rubs are preferred if hands are not visibly soiled; wash hands with soap and water when they are visibly soiled.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when
coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing
- Refrain from touching mouth and nose.
- A medical mask is NOT required if exhibiting no symptoms, as there is no evidence that wearing a mask – of any type – protects non-sick persons. INFO
There has been an increase in travel advisories being issued by countries around the world, urging caution for select destinations, and discouraging travel to others. As of February 29, 2020, the Director-General of WHO declared the current outbreak of COVID-19 a public health emergency of international concern and issued Temporary Recommendations. WHO continues to advise against the application of travel or trade restrictions to countries experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks. It is recommended that travellers who are sick to delay or avoid travel to affected areas, in particular for elderly travellers and people with chronic diseases or underlying health conditions. WHO INFO
Some people are hesitant to travel, others are just going blindly, the best thing is to check what the FCO is saying so you are informed about your destination and can decide what to do. Each country has a section about Covid-19 in the health section that will enable you to get the best information. FCO
As we don’t know how fast and where the virus will spread next, having the relevant travel insurance will give you peace of mind. So my advice if you have a travel insurance is to make sure it includes things like Covid-19, and if you don’t have one but you are going on a trip soon, take one immediately. Why? Well, let’s say you booked a trip to Thailand in September, in a month the FCO decides travelling there is not advisable due to the virus. If you don’t have travel insurance and want to cancel, you won’t get refunded, and this whether you bought a plane ticket, hotel or travel package with a tour operator. However, if you take the travel insurance now covering Covid-19 as well, and the FCO takes the decision, you will be reimbursed by your insurance. A lot of people are now reluctant to book holidays as they are afraid of losing monies, but if you have the right travel insurance there is no reason to panic, so a good coverage ASAP is key. Don’t wait to book it the day before your trip, and as a tip annual insurance is usually a better decision than a separate one for each trip.
I have partnered with Pluto as I really like the way they deal with insurance and jargon-free language (I don’t get anything of it but managed to secure £5 off for you: https://pluto.travel/r/girlsontravel) and they have a Covid-19 extension you can add.
If you want more detailed information and compare other insurances, this article is really detailed and clear. INFO
To conclude, pretending this is not happening is not the solution either, but neither is getting paranoid. If you travel, check the FCO advice, don’t let it stop you but make sure you are aware of what is going on in the country you are going to and what is requested from you when you return as well. I hope this article is helpful and guides you a bit in your travels. Don’t hesitate to comment if you want to add something or have any questions!