If you’re thinking about cancelling your travel plans due to the spread of the coronavirus, it’s worth asking yourself three questions:
Am I planning to travel to a high-risk area?
Am I at elevated risk of contracting coronavirus?
Do I currently feel well, or am I sleep-deprived, rundown, or fighting off a bug?
Dr. Manish Trivedi, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the AtlantiCare Regional Medical Centre, suggests that anxious travellers start by checking their local coronavirus travel hub, which includes a restricted travel list. Currently the U.S. health department recommends avoiding travel to China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy, and potentially avoiding travel to Japan if you are an older adult or have a chronic medical condition.
The Australian government has restricted travel between South Korea, China and Iran.
But what if you’re planning to travel somewhere else? “International travel to countries that are not reporting widespread transmission of the coronavirus is probably still low-risk for most travellers,” Dr. Trivedi told me. “I know some of my patients have postponed international trips simply for their peace of mind, and, for them, that was the right decision.”
If you decide to continue with your travel plans, remember to do your part to protect yourself from both the coronavirus and other communicable illnesses: make sure you’re washing your hands correctly, avoid touching your face, and consider wiping down your aeroplane seat, seatbelt, and tray table.
Dr. Trivedi has one more tip: “If you feel sick, stay at home.” This will not only help you recover from whatever you’re currently fighting off (without running the risk of contracting coronavirus on top of that), but it will also protect everyone else from catching whatever you’ve got. Trivedi also urges everyone to boost their immune systems by getting enough sleep—so whether you end up staying at home or jetting off to a hotel, try to prioritise both rest and health as much as possible.