If you haven’t heard, a new and unfamiliar coronavirus has popped up in China, particularly in the region around Wuhan. As of late yesterday, it had killed 17 people and cases had been identified in five other countries: Thailand (four cases), Japan (one), South Korea (one), Taiwan (one), and the U.S. (one, in Washington state). The city of Wuhan, China, where nearly all cases are centralized, has temporarily suspended outbound travel “to contain the escalating epidemic.”
Meanwhile, people have been asking me whether it’s safe to travel to Asia. My answer is as follows:
- If you’re traveling to China or the region soon, go as planned but use extra precautions. Wash your hands constantly, don’t touch your face, consider wearing a mask if around large groups of people, and stay away from animals.
- If you’re traveling to China or the region down the road, simply relax for now and see how it plays out.
- In either case, you should keep an eye on the situation. That means reading reliable information from the CDC, the WHO, the State Department (and other countries’ travel advisory services). It could simply be a lot of media hype, but it’s too early to know for sure.
All in all, fewer than 500 cases had officially been reported as of yesterday, though that number is expected to rise. The likes of the WHO and the U.S. Embassy in China have so far not come out against travel to China, let alone other parts of Asia, though they have recommended caution. The U.S. Embassy, for example, says only that travelers to Wuhan should “avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat); avoid contact with sick people; and wash hands often with soap and water.”
So for now, keeping an eye on the travel advisory alerts offered by the U.S., the U.K. and others is your best bet. Keep your travel plans (I have a trip to Asia next month), but look out for updates (including from this newsletter). The fact is that a lot is not yet known about this coronavirus (which is being called “Wuhan novel coronavirus” or just “Wuhan coronavirus” after its place of origin), but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use the information that is available to make a smart travel decision. Here’s a place to start:
What is the Wuhan coronavirus?
Coronaviruses, according to CNN, “can make people sick, usually with a mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illness, similar to a common cold” but “there are a handful of human coronaviruses that are known to be deadly.” SARS and MERS, for example, are deadly coronaviruses. CNN says that the Wuhan coronavirus “is currently thought to be more mild than SARS and MERS and takes longer to develop symptoms. Patients to date have typically experienced a mild cough for a week followed by shortness of breath, causing them to visit the hospital, explains Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases and global health at the University of Oxford. So far, around 15% to 20% of cases have become severe, requiring, for example, ventilation in the hospital.”
It’s not known exactly how the Wuhan coronavirus is transmitted, but the U.K. government notes that “other coronaviruses are mainly transmitted by large respiratory droplets and direct or indirect contact with infected secretions.”
How to keep up with the Wuhan coronavirus: resources
To keep up with the Wuhan coronavirus and related travel advisories, try these resources:
- From the U.K. government: Guide to Wuhan novel coronavirus (including epidemiology, where cases are located…)
- From the Australian government: Novel coronavirus outbreak page
- From the WHO: Coronavirus page (including Q&A, news…)
- From the WHO: Advice for international travel and trade in relation to the outbreak of pneumonia caused by a new coronavirus in China
- From the CDC: The CDC’s coronavirus page (including epidemiology, news…)
- From the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in China: Health alert update on the novel coronavirus in China
Have your own tip? Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Want to see more tips? Click here for all 1,625!
Want even more travel tips? Sign up here for the Daily Travel Tip newsletter! Enter your email address and check “Daily Travel Tip” to receive Johnny’s best tips in your inbox each day!
If you already subscribe to our weekly newsletter, you can sign up on the same page. Just fill in your email and check “Daily Travel Tip” on the same page. You’ll receive an email with a link to update your JohnnyJet.com preferences. On that page, just click the Daily Travel Tip box and Update Profile.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.