What you need to know if you are going to cancel a trip due to coronavirus
If you are planning a trip to a country where there is an outbreak of coronavirus, you may have difficulty deciding how to proceed. Do I need to cancel it? How much is it? What if you go and get sick? Recommendations gives Travel + Leasure.
How widespread is coronavirus
As of 14:30 p.m. on the east coast, on March 2, 2020, 89 confirmed cases of coronavirus were recorded in the world. According to the monitoring card Johns Hopkins University, which collects information around the world, of the 3048 deaths due to this virus, the vast majority - 2803 people - have died in mainland China. South Korea has reported 4335 confirmed cases of the virus, with 26 deaths. Italy has 1694 confirmed cases and 34 deaths, Iran 978 cases and 54 deaths, and Japan 256 cases and 6 deaths. As of March 2, two people (both in Washington State) have died in the United States of America, with cases reported in Northern California, New York, Florida and Rhode Island.
Do I need to cancel the trip to China
Both the CDC and the US Department of State issued the highest level warnings regarding travel to mainland China. The CDC warning is for all trips to China, but does not include trips to Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan. The State Department’s warning explicitly states: “Do not go to China.”
Chinese authorities have suspended air, road and rail shipments related to Wuhan, where the coronavirus arose. Traveling to other parts of the country is strictly limited, many national attractions are closed during the outbreak.
US airlines have suspended flights to mainland China until March or April, so your trip may not be possible. Contact your airline directly for more information.
Do I need to cancel the trip to South Korea
The Department of State issued a Level 3 warning for South Korea, urging Americans to reconsider travel to the country, while the CDC recommends canceling all non-essential visits to that country.
Those planning to travel to South Korea should check out CDC leadership for precautions and treatment of coronavirus. Travelers should often and thoroughly wash their hands, and items that are often touched should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Travelers are advised to check South Korean government website about coronavirus for the latest information.
Do I need to cancel the trip to Italy or Japan
Italy became the main center of the epidemic: 1694 people fell ill and 34 died from the coronavirus. The US government issued a Level 3 warning asking travelers to “reconsider” their travel plans to Italy, but after the death of two Americans, the US Department of State issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warning for regions in northern Italy. Leading airlines, including Delta and American Airlines, have canceled flights to Milan.
With regard to Japan, a Level 2 recommendation is currently in place warning of the need to “exercise extra caution” when traveling.
In the area of the coronavirus outbreak, travelers should take special care in crowded public places and avoid areas designated by the government as dangerous. For the latest information on the spread of the virus, pay attention to embassy warnings. Italy и Japan.
Does the insurance cover travel cancellation expenses
As always, it is recommended to purchase insurance immediately after booking upcoming trips. The longer you wait for insurance after booking your trip, the more benefits you may miss.
If you have insurance for the upcoming trip to the area affected by the coronavirus, check out the insurance company policy.
AIG Travel Guard's standard policy states: “Cancellation of travel due to anxiety or fear of travel associated with an illness, epidemic or pandemic is not covered by insurance.”
Travelers using Allianz Travel will receive a refund under the existing plan "if the carrier canceled the customer's trip due to the coronavirus, or if the customer's covered trip included a trip to China that was specifically canceled due to the virus."
Allianz will also allow customers to change the effective dates of the plan to cover a new or rescheduled trip.
Since travel insurance plans do not provide for proactive cancellation, you are most likely to be insured if you become infected with the coronavirus during the trip or if you are quarantined during the trip.
What type of insurance do you need to buy
Travelers who are worried about upcoming trips should choose a travel insurance plan that includes “cancellation for any reason” coverage. But it is important that such a plan be purchased within a few weeks after booking the trip, and often such insurance does not reimburse the traveler for the full cost of the trip.
What to do if you have not bought travel insurance
Given that upcoming trips to Asia or Italy were most likely scheduled several months in advance of departure, it is best to check information from the airline and hotel to see if they have cancellation policies that are specifically targeted at travelers during the coronavirus outbreak - for example, like JetBlue.
The airline announced that it will waive all change fees for flights booked from February 27 to March 11. Rebooked flights must be completed by June 1st.
“While the authorities have not imposed any travel restrictions to the places where we fly, we want to give our customers the confidence that we are ready to support them if the situation changes,” said JetBlue President Joanna Geraty.
It is also worth checking if any form of insurance comes with the credit card you used to book your trip.
What to do if you have booked a cruise
According to Insuremytrip.com, “cruise travel insurance can protect you if you miss part of the journey or have an emergency evacuation from the sea. When traveling by ship overseas, insurance can cover unforeseen medical problems. ”
However, they recommend buying an insurance policy through third parties, and not the cruise line itself, since its offers may be limited.
Also, in some cases, the insurance plan requires evidence that you have received on-board medical care.
Earlier in February, the International Cruise Line Association (CLIA) set out in detail new cruise ship policies for coronavirus outbreaks. Cruise liners must refuse boarding for passengers traveling from or through airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before boarding the ship. Landing should also be denied to anyone who has been in contact with a patient with coronavirus for 14 days. At this time, passengers also need health checks on board.
Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean cruise lines have canceled or redirected a number of cruises planned for Asia. Travelers who have already booked a cruise should contact their cruise line directly for the latest information.
Precautions on cruise ships were taken after the incident in Japan, when the Diamond Princess cruise ship was moored and quarantined with hundreds of confirmed cases of coronavirus on board.
What if you get sick while traveling
Many travel insurance policies cover travel illnesses.
According to AIG Travel Guard, if you get coronavirus during a trip covered by insurance, you can get insurance coverage for medical expenses and benefits related to interruption / reduction of the trip, if there is a confirmed diagnosis, taking into account the conditions of your insurance policy.
Travelers with AIG Travel Guard insurance will also be insured if they are quarantined.
Allianz may offer a refund depending on the severity of the disease or in the case of quarantine.
Although this rarely happens, some insurance companies, such as True Traveler from the UK and the EU, allow people to take out travel insurance policies if they become ill.
If you fall ill during your travels, keep all records of your medical care — they may be useful for resolving your claim after you return.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends staying home and reviewing your travel plans if you have a fever or cough. If you become ill while traveling, you must inform the transport team or medical personnel about this.
The first symptoms of coronavirus are very similar to flu. Having felt these symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor.
“Fever, cough is, first of all, a virus of the lower respiratory tract - a general malaise, there may be gastrointestinal upsets,” says Dr. Rebecca Katz, professor and director of the Center for Global Health and Safety Sciences at Georgetown University.
When complications of the virus occur, patients may develop pneumonia or kidney problems that can lead to death, although survival is relatively high.
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