Coronavirus: Is It Safe To Travel From The UK To The USA?

The news channels have been dominated with updates on the fast-spreading coronavirus and the Government has been quick to react to the outbreak in the UK with an emergency Cobra meeting. Huge sports events have been cancelled, whilst schools affected by the virus have been closed as a precaution and closing more schools could be next in the plans to try and contain the virus.

How coronavirus is affecting holiday plans?

Holiday hotspots that UK holidaymakers typically enjoy going to, such as Italy and the Canary Islands have seen British tourists contract the virus and sparked the spread across the UK. Amongst many other concerns, such as helping to keep the elderly protected and preventing the panic buying in supermarkets, people are wondering whether it is still safe to travel.

Italy’s northern region has been placed on lockdown, which has led to warnings that only essential travel to the Lombardy region should be made. Visiting this area could mean that you are kept in the quarantine zone, so to avoid that, travel to northern Italy is advised.

Travelling to the US

With the number of global cases raising daily, it is important to keep up to date with the latest advice to ensure safe travelling. Currently, the US have over 729 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 27 reported fatalities, mostly affecting Washington (22), with California (3) and Florida (2) being the other areas to confirm deaths from the disease. It is worthwhile noting that most of the Washington cases have been at a long-care health facility, with a more vulnerable section of society being affected.

One of the current other concerns in the US is the Grand Princess cruise ship, which has had at least 22 positive tests on passengers and nobody is being allowed to disembark. So far, the UK Government has not imposed any travel restrictions to the US, although many airlines have cancelled flights and will tourism across the world will be largely affected by this. The UK has seen a big increase in people choosing to holiday in the UK, rather than travel abroad at least until the disease is under control.

Is it safe to fly to the US?

Airlines have stepped up their approaches to cleaning aircrafts, but they are still seeing travellers change their plans in reaction to the panic surrounding coronavirus. With a relatively low number of cases compared to China and Italy, the US is not considered to be a high-risk travel destination. However, there is also advice being provided to say that self-isolation is the best way to avoid contracting the coronavirus, therefore travelling and being in a confined space with other travellers does pose an element of risk.

In the UK, the over 70s are being urged to avoid going into public spaces for the time being and the Premier League is considering banning over 70s from attending games to protect them. People with underlying health problems are also at higher risk, as shown by the analysis of the death statistics in China. So, older people and anyone with existing health conditions are more at risk and should reconsider any travel plans they have until the outbreak has ended.

Cancelling flights and hotels

If you have already booked your flights and accommodation, you might be worried about losing out financially, as well as missing out on your holiday. Since the spread of coronavirus has heightened, there has been greater flexibility shown by airlines and hotel chains. American Airlines and JetBlue in the US have both offered to waive cancellation fees on new bookings. You should check with your airline and hotel to see whether they are prepared to waive cancellation fees.

The majority of travel insurance policies will not cover fears about the destination but you can take out more expensive cover that will provide reimbursement if you do decide to cancel amid fears of the coronavirus.

Travelling to US with ESTA

Whilst there are worries about travelling to any destinations that have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, there has been a slight decrease in the number of ESTA applications for UK tourists booking holidays to the US. However, it is still quick and easy to get an ESTA for travel authorization to the US for those who are still planning to travel to the US this year.

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