As a consequence of the spread of coronavirus in at least 77 countries, governments are imposing travel restrictions and all the major airline companies are cancelling flights.

map of coronavirus
Coronavirus map, here on The New York Times.

After China, northern Italy, Singapore and South Korea are the destinations that have experienced the most drastic drop in visitors. Some of their tourist hotspots now look empty and desolated.

Over 75% of travellers have cancelled their departures to Southeast Asian countries for this spring. The International Air Transport Association estimates financial losses for the passenger business of between $63 and $113 billion.

Experts say the economic disruption from the collapse of tourism might have long-term effects that will ripple well into 2021.

Keep Calm and Travel On?

As a response, the travel industry is rushing to find ways to reassure prospective tourists.

Airline companies are introducing more flexible booking policies, and the new campaign #KeepCalmTravelOn aims to encourage holiday bookings for the next season.

The campaign has received mixed reactions. Some believe tourism can and should continue – especially considering that for many countries is fundamental to their economy – others think that promoting travelling during a global health emergency is an irresponsible and lucrative move.

coronavirus tweet

It’s not the end of tourism (yet)

However, despite extreme caution is recommended,  a total travel ban has not been imposed yet.

Authorities suggest to periodically consult the Foreign Office travel advice service and to refrain from travelling as soon as the first symptoms occur.

It is also advisable to maintain flexible routes and book refundable flights, as travel plans may vary with the development of the epidemic.

As, at the moment, there are no available vaccines to protect humans from Covid-19, experts suggest travellers take some extra safety measures to contain the virus.

Coronavirus travel tips

There are ways to lessen the chances of getting (or spreading) Covid-19  when travelling. Much of the advice from experts is common sense and it is similar to what applies to the flu or any other respiratory virus.

  • Constantly wash your hands and always carry with you hand sanitizer.
  • Use disinfected wipes to ensure the surfaces you use are germ-free (e.g. seats, tables, public transport handles).
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Avoid, when and where possible, overcrowded places.
  • A protective mask helps. The N95 is the best against pathogens.
  • Keep your immune system up against germs by staying hydrated, taking vitamins and getting enough sleep.

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