In the wake of Coronavirus (COVID-19), we've put together a list of resources that put things in perspective and present the facts related to travel. As always, we recommend following the recommendations issued by the U.S. Department of State, as well as the CDC.
NO Travel Warnings In the U.S. or Latin America
There are currently no travel warnings issued for many countries around the world, including Canada, the U.S. and Latin America. Nearly all of the 3,300 associated deaths have occurred in mainland China (all but 287). For perspective, 2019-2020 flu season killed between 16,000-41,000 people around the world.
Click the map below for an updated tracker provided by The New York Times.
Map of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Worldwide
The CDC's Three-Level Warning System
There are some logical ways to make an informed choice about where to go. Use the CDC’s warning level system, which is frequently updated and considered reliable.
LEVEL 4 (Do Not Travel)
LEVEL 3 (Cancel all Non-Essential Travel) Level 3 is a high-level warning of serious outbreak and it’s a no-go. The CDC recommends avoiding all nonessential travel. As of now, the only countries at a LEVEL 3 include: South Korea, Italy, China, and Iran. The decision is simple, do not travel.
LEVEL 2 (Restrict Travel for the Elderly and Chronically Sick) Level 2 calls for practicing enhanced precautions. You can still go, but a good rule for any travelers nervous about the virus would be to postpone or cancel trips to Level 2 countries: currently only Japan. Wait for things to resolve.
LEVEL 1 (No recommendation to postpone or cancel travel) Level 1 is when a place has been put on watch. Currently, only Hong Kong is listed as Level 1 for coronavirus. But other countries are listed with “apparent community spread”: Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Vietnam. The CDC says virus spread isn’t sustained or widespread enough to warrant a travel health notice. But that may be notice enough for you.
The World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO), which is taking the lead on fighting the spread of COVID-19, has not issued a call to cancel conferences. If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or have not travelled from an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or have not been in contact with an infected patient, your risk of infection is low. It is understandable that you may feel anxious about the outbreak. Get the facts from reliable sources to help you accurately determine your risks so that you can take reasonable precautions - click here to view WHO's Comprehensive Daily Report for March 4, 2020, which includes many excellent resources for preparedness and response.
WHO has released a list of steps to take in workplaces and “mass gatherings” that can also help to prevent coronavirus and other more common infections, such as colds, the flu, and stomach bugs. Learn more here.
The Head of WHO has called for a need for perspective, noting that 90% of all cases are China driven and 81% of all cases outside of China remain within 4 countries. He also stated that COVID-19 does not transmit as efficiently as influenza. With influenza, people who are infected but not yet sick are major drivers of transmission, which does not appear to be the case for COVID-19. Learn more here.
Perspective and Sensationalized Media Coverage
Fear is a natural response when people read about millions of people locked down in China. Yet it's also true that, right now, the individual risk to people is very small. Public health experts say the biggest health risk for domestic travel right now is the flu. No part of the U.S. is considered higher risk for coronavirus than any other.
The CDC Report on the 2019/2020 Flu Season
Airline Commitment to Customer and Team Member Safety
Airlines like American Airlines are taking necessary precautions to ensure a safe journey and provide peace of mind during travel. Their cleaning practices have always met or exceeded all CDC guidelines and they have a strong, structured cleaning regimen. Thier aircraft are cleaned each day at key touchpoints on their journeys with an EPA-approved disinfectant.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE
To view the active map, click here.
Smart Meetings “Guide to Staying On Top of the Coronavirus Outbreak”
For tips on how to stop the disease from spreading at your event or conference, click here.
The Secretary of Health for the State of Quintan Roo (Cancun)
For facts and an action plan regarding COVID-19, click here.
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