Coronavirus in China: Travel Advice

A new coronavirus has recently emerged in China that is believed to have originated in a Wuhan seafood market.

At least 830 cases have been reported and China is stepping up its efforts to try and tackle the virus which is a concern as millions of people travel for the Lunar New Year celebrations this weekend.

There haven’t yet been any special recommendations to change travel plans issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) or the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but the WHO has expressed advice for those planning on travelling to China.

What is Coronavirus?

This is a novel coronavirus, a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before. It stems from animals but can be transmitted between animals and humans. The virus causes pneumonia and those that have contracted the virus are reported to have been suffering from coughs, fever and respiratory difficulties and in extreme cases, the virus can cause organ failure.

The big issue is that because it’s viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use and the drugs that combat flu doesn’t work. Patients are receiving support for their lungs and other organs in hospital, but recovery very much depends on the strength of their immune system. Currently, the incubation period is an average of five to six days but can range from two to 14 days.

Information is suggesting that older adults and people already suffering from underlying health conditions are the most at risk of severe disease from this virus.

But, don’t panic, if you have got plans to travel to China here’s advice from the WHO on how to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections while travelling to or from affected areas.

Travel advice

Person-to-person spread of the virus is occurring, although it hasn’t been stated how easily it’s being passed. But to reduce the risk of acquiring the virus it’s recommended that you:

  • avoid close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections
  • frequently wash your hands, especially after establishing direct contact with anyone that’s ill
  • if you are suffering from symptoms of acute respiratory infection you should practice cough etiquette – maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues and wash your hands and clothing regularly.

What is being done?

The Chinese authorities have increased their efforts in an attempt to stop the virus from spreading further. They have already sealed off Wuhan and have suspended flights and trains out of the city for anyone without special reasoning.

At least nine other Chinese cities were added to the transport ban on Friday, which has affected more than 20 million people but was enforced to contain the momentum of the epidemic spreading.

Monitoring and disinfection have also started taking place in China and airport authorities across Asia, including Japan, Thailand and Singapore have also stepped up the screening of passengers arriving from Wuhan.

Europe, the UK and Italy have also said that they are going to begin monitoring flights from Wuhan to try and lessen the spread.

For more information, you can visit the WHO, which is providing the latest updates and advice.

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