Edit: Since I wrote this post in early February, the coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we live. I’ve created a new Coronavirus page where I’ve added links to all my COVID-19 articles.
Everyone’s talking about the new coronavirus, and the rumours are spreading even faster than the disease. In late January, my editor at Fodor’s reached out to ask me to write a piece on what travellers need to know about the new virus: Should you change your travel plans due to the coronavirus? I’ve updated it with new info twice already, and a new update will be published the week of February 17.
Every once in a while my former life as a Government of Canada policy executive and my travel writing life link together for a brief moment, and I can write pieces like this. I knew there was a reason I worked on the pandemic influenza file for a while! (Free advice: get your flu shot).
Stay healthy by washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth (the parts shown in the photo from Bayon temple, Cambodia). Read my articles for more details on the latest.
I think everyone should probably stall travel plans, especially to endemic areas
Well, some people certainly agree with you. For me, I trust the advice of organizations like the WHO and the Canadian government’s health and foreign affairs departments. Of course we want to minimize illness, especially for people who are vulnerable because of their health status, living conditions, or the public health system in their country. However, stopping or even delaying travel can have serious economic consequences too, including significantly affecting the incomes of families who work in the tourism industry.
We are heading to Southern India in two weeks. Do we need to take any precautions?
Just the precautions outlined in my article. I’ll be in northern India later in February. As of today, Feb 2, I’m not planning on doing anything differently other than washing my hands even more frequently (and for the full 20 seconds) and being careful not to touch my face.
Very helpful advice. Thanks!
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many thanks :-)