The Coronavirus – Report 4
London, 10 March 2020
The coronavirus is now present in 100 countries around the world and over 100,000 people have COVID-19, the respiratory disease which is spread by the virus. In his press briefing of 9 March 2020, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) said the threat of a pandemic had become very real. He also stated two clear facts:
- more than 70% of the 80,000 cases in China have recovered and been discharged.
- 93% of all cases globally are from just four countries.
WHO has consolidated guidance for countries into four categories: those with no cases; those with sporadic cases; those with clusters; and those with community transmission.
China appears to be bring its epidemic under control and there is a decline in new cases being reported from the Republic of Korea. Only a handful of countries have signs of sustained community transmission.
WHO have shipped laboratory supplies to 120 countries and have despatched personal protective equipment to 57 countries.
If it does become a pandemic, it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled.
In the UK, there are now 319 cases, up from 57 a week ago.
|South-East Asia||The Americas|
People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.
Links: World Health Organisation
GENERAL ADVICE TO TRAVELLERS
Travellers should comply with additional screening measures put in place by authorities, including at airports. You are advised to ensure you have travel insurance in place and to leave a copy of your itinerary and your insurance policy with family or friends here.
We are aware of some specific measures introduced by a number of countries:
The Colombian authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus, including the need for all national or foreign citizens who intend to enter the country to fill out the Preventive Control Against Coronavirus form.
If you present symptoms upon arrival at an airport in Ecuador, you should inform a representative of the Ministry of Health (“Ministerio de Salud Pública”) at the airport. If you have symptoms after having entered the country, you should call 171 and you will be attended by trained personnel of the Ministry of Health. Visitors to Galapagos will be denied entry to the islands if they present any symptoms established by the World Health Organisation. These regulations are subject to change at short notice and you should check with your travel provider before your journey.
Foreigners who have recently visited the People’s Republic of China, Italy, or the Republic of Korea may be denied entry to El Salvador. The list of countries is subject to change. El Salvadorean health officials at all ports of entry are monitoring arrivals with infrared thermometers and checking recent travel history.
On 31 January 2020, the Government of Guatemala announced that those who have visited China within the previous 15 days will not be permitted entry to Guatemala until further notice. This applies to travellers of all nationalities. If you’re affected by this announcement, check with your nearest Guatemalan embassy before travel.
If you have symptoms upon arrival at an airport in Mexico, you should ask for the International Health Team (“Sanidad Internacional”). If you have symptoms after having entered the country, you should call 800 0044 800. You will be attended by trained personnel of the Ministry of Health.
There is a temporary suspension of flights between Indonesia and mainland China. Anyone who has visited China within the previous 14 days will not be permitted to enter or transit the country. Indonesia has also introduced restrictions on all travellers who have visited Iran, Italy and South Korea within 14 days.
Travelers to Laos should be aware that there may be enhanced health screening at border crossings and at departure airports before boarding. You should allow additional time to include this possibility and check with your airline if travelling by air.
Laos Government officials advise “If you have a travel history to an outbreak area and develop symptoms after entering Laos, please call +856 20 5406 677 to speak to a duty officer in Laos or English, at any time of the day or night. For more information, call the free hotline number 166 at any time.”
The Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Bokeo Province which borders China currently has restrictions on entry. You should confirm with local authorities the current situation before you attempt to travel through the zone.
Malaysian owned, and Malaysian based, airlines have suspended some flights between Malaysia and mainland China. If you’re due to travel, keep in touch with your airline as flights in the region may be cancelled at short notice.
The Myanmar authorities have introduced some screening measures at airports and border crossings. Many direct flights between Yangon airport and mainland China have been suspended. Other regional flights have been reduced. Flights from other international airports (Mandalay and Naypyitaw) may also be affected. You should check with airlines for the latest information.
The Philippine government has announced that until further notice, entry to the country will be refused to foreign nationals who have been in or travelled via mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macao within the previous 14 days.
The Vietnamese authorities are implementing extensive steps to mitigate the risks of infection, including health screening at airports and land borders. People showing signs of respiratory illness on arrival in Vietnam, those who have travelled from an area with confirmed cases or those that have come in to contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus can expect to be checked and potentially quarantined. Anyone confirmed as having coronavirus, including foreigners, can expect to be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
The Vietnamese authorities have also announced travel restrictions and quarantine requirements:
- The Vietnamese Government has announced that the visa waiver programme for UK citizens has been suspended with effect from 12 March 2020.
- Anyone who has visited China, Iran, Italy or Daegu city and Gyeongsangbuk province in South Korea in the previous 14 days will be refused entry to Vietnam. The only exceptions will be people with specific agreement travelling on official government business.
- Flights from South Korea are being diverted to alternative airports, some a considerable distance away from the scheduled place of entry in to Vietnam.
The Vietnamese government has recommended that citizens wear masks in public, and it has introduced special permits for anyone seeking to organise large public events.
Revealed Travel will continue to monitor the outbreak and will endeavour to publish accurate information about the coronavirus on our websites.
ADVICE FOR RETURNING TRAVELLERS
Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms:
- Hubei province in China
- Special care zones in South Korea (Daegu, Cheongdo, Gyeongsan)
Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places, even if you do not have symptoms:
- Italy (since 09 March)
Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:
- mainland China outside of Hubei province
- South Korea outside of the special care zones
- Hong Kong
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
In Scotland call your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours.
In Wales call 111 (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47.
This guidance is based on the recommendations of the UK Chief Medical Officers. These areas have been identified because of the volume of air travel from affected areas, understanding of other travel routes and number of reported cases. This list will be kept under review.
FURTHER GENERAL ADVICE
There is no vaccine against the coronavirus. However, you should take precautions in order to minimise the risk of transmission including:
- If you are elderly or have pre-existing health issues, you should be aware that if you are infected with COVID-19 you could be at increased risk of severe infection.
- Hand hygiene is important for everyone; please wash hands regularly with soap and water or a disinfectant, especially after coughing and sneezing, before handling and consuming food.
- Use disposable tissues when coughing or sneezing and dispose of used tissues carefully and promptly.
- Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and avoid sharing personal items.
- Avoid visiting live bird and animal markets, backyard or commercial poultry farms and do not touch wild or domestic birds (alive or dead).
- Avoid any contact with animals, birds or surfaces that may be contaminated with animal or bird droppings.
- Do not eat or handle under-cooked or raw meat including poultry, egg or duck dishes.
- Using masks outside clinical settings are not recommended to protect against the virus. Should you decide to use a mask, you should ensure you continue to use all the recommended precautions in order to minimise the risk of transmission.
- Travellers should be aware that direct flights inbound to the UK from countries or areas affected by COVID-19 may be subject to enhanced monitoring, including measures to provide advice to travellers if they feel unwell.
- Several countries have announced restrictions on entry for travellers from countries affected by COVID-19.
- Travellers should check the latest FCO travel advice (including entry requirements) for their destination and check with their airline/tour operator before travel.