CORONAVIRUS

the facts for business travellers

 

[update: 28th March 2020]

Gray Dawes Travel are keeping a close eye on the current Coronavirus outbreak and what this means to business travellers. Our aim with this web page is to provide you with a single resource for all the information you need to make informed decisions about your corporate travel programme.

In order to keep your travellers safe during this unprecedented time, here you will find information on what COVID-19 it is, what you can do to stay safe and how it is affecting travel.

Remember, your Gray Dawes Travel Team of experienced consultants and account managers are on call to help you and your company through what is now confirmed as a pandemic by World Health Organisation.

ABOUT CORONAVIRUS

WHAT IS COVID-2019?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

As with SARS and MERS, it is assumed that this virus originated in animals (possibly bats) and changed or swapped genetics (termed “recombination”) somewhat to be able to infect humans.

WHERE IT STARTED

In late December 2019 a group of residents, who seemed to have a connection with the Wuhan Seafood Market, were found to have developed a viral pneumonia. Studies have since shown that some of those with pneumonia first became sick in early December 2019. A hunt for the causative agent ruled out known pathogens and in early January 2020 the cause was found to be a new (novel) corona virus, now called COVID-2019.

Since the first COVID-19 case was reported in 2019 more than 73,000 cases have been reported globally. The majority of confirmed cases continue to be localized to China. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the SARS-CoV-2 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Several countries have implemented travel restrictions in response to the growing outbreak of the virus. Many airlines have suspended flights with routes serving China and other nearby countries.

HOW DOES COVID-2019 SPREAD?

COVID-2019 is likely to be spread when respiratory droplets containing the virus are created when a person coughs or sneezes. This is called “droplet spread.”

HUMAN TO HUMAN TRANSMISSION

Transmission between close contacts: transmission from an infected (and usually) sick person and close contacts, usually household or family members or healthcare workers. Cases occurring between close contacts are often called “clusters.”

Community transmission: wider transmission of the virus with people in the general community, who are not household or family members, or healthcare workers looking after cases, becoming infected. Community transmission occurs during an epidemic.

SYMPTOMS

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Studies have shown that older men and those with chronic respiratory conditions are at higher risk of developing a more serious case if they contract the virus. Though, young and healthy people have also presented with severe cases as well. 

PREVENTING INFECTION

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.

Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

Most importantly – DO NOT TRAVEL IF YOU ARE SICK

IMPACT ON TRAVEL

TRANSMISSION IN OTHER COUNTRIES

WHO (World Health Organization) recognizes that there is a risk of community transmission occurring, especially in countries with less-developed public health systems:

  • Low risk of community transmission: higher income countries
  • High/higher risk of community transmission: in middle & low income countries

This is one of the reasons for WHO declaring a PHEIC and WHO is assisting vulnerable countries.

The reduction of airline services leaving China may lead to a reduction in the number of exported cases globally reducing risk.

WHO identified 13 priority countries in Africa: Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire,The Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

CURRENT TRAVEL RESTRICTION

Many countries have taken precautions and have implemented various levels of restrictions to help mitigate the current crisis and to stop the spread of the virus. Limiting the spread of the virus is vital in gaining control and wiping out the virus sooner. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Travellers traveling to or from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan should check their flight status before departing from the airport. Travellers with flight connections in these locations should also confirm all flights on their journey prior to departure and should consider changing their itineraries to avoid connections in these locations. It’s also recommended that individuals practice proper personal hygiene, particularly if they have been exposed to the virus.

Travellers traveling to or from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan should check their flight status before departing from the airport. Travellers with flight connections in these locations should also confirm all flights on their journey prior to departure and should consider changing their itineraries to avoid connections in these locations. It’s also recommended that individuals practice proper personal hygiene, particularly if they have been exposed to the virus.

TRAVEL WITHIN CHINA

Increased security measures are likely near transport hubs. Screening measures could cause check-in, security clearance, and immigration delays throughout China. Traffic disruptions are possible where authorities are conducting private vehicle checks. There have been flight delays as the result of health and security checks. Health officials may provide masks for most passengers with a fever, and authorities could quarantine passengers suspected of having the virus.

Some areas in China have been placed under strictly enforced curfews. It is possible that travel exit bans could be imposed that would prevent travellers from leaving certain areas within China and/or leaving the country via land, train or airplane.

INFORMATION RESOURCES

WHO – GLOBAL RESPONSE PLAN

The World Health Organization (WHO) and partners have developed a global strategic preparedness and response plan, which outlines the public health measures that the international community can provide to support all countries to prepare for and respond to the Covid-19 outbreak. The overall goal of the plan is to stop further transmission of Covid-19 within China and to other countries, and to mitigate the impact of the outbreak in all countries.

https://www.who.int/publications-detail/strategic-preparedness-and-response-plan-for-the-new-coronavirus

FCO – ADVICE FOR TRAVELLERS

FCO (Foreign Commonwealth Office) – Travel advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for British people travelling and living overseas following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, and in other countries worldwide.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

AIRLINES

Some airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have suspended flights to and from China, or revised their schedules. Other flights in the region may also be affected. If you’re due to travel on an affected route, keep up to date with the latest information from your travel company or airline.

Click on any of the listed airlines, below, to link through to their official Coronavirus Update information: