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6 Feb

Coronavirus Travel Update In Southeast Asia

Due to the developing situation in China and the number of countries worldwide concerning the Wuhan Coronavirus, this article will update the travel information to keep businesses involved in the Southeast Asia region.

I. Overview  

1. What is Corona Virus?

Coronavirus 2019 (2019-nCoV) is a new virus that causes acute respiratory infections in humans. The virus outbreak first was in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. It could be transmitted not only from person to person but also from animal to human. The transmitted mechanism from person to person is through contact with the mucus of an infected person by coughing, sneezing and shaking hands.

2. Symptoms and complications that can be caused by Coronavirus (nCoV)

According to the report of infected people who have ranged from little to no symptoms and severely ill to dying, symptoms can include: High fever and headache, runny nose and sore throat, cough and shortness of breath. At this time, these symptoms of 2019-nCoV may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. This is based on what has been seen previously as the incubation period of MERS viruses. (CDCs’)

II. Situations Update By Destinations 

The updated statistics as of 01:24 GMT on February 27, 2020, showed that there are more than 82.000 confirmed cases globally, 2,800 cases have died with the vast majority are in China and more than 32,812 cases have fully recovered. 

In Vietnam, there are 16 confirmed cases whereas all of them have now fully recovered. Vietnam has suspended all flights to mainland China and most of the flights with South Korea; a ban on all foreign visitors who have been in China within the past 14 days and returning Vietnamese quarantined.

In order to prevent infection, Hong Kong has announced the suspension of all ferries and rail services from mainland China and has cut all inbound China flights. So that all flights to and from Hong Kong and Taiwan are still operated as normal.

Meanwhile, in Thailand, there are now 40 infection cases and 22 of the cases have fully recovered. Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has reassured visitors and residents that the highest level of checks and preventative measures are in place at all international airports. Infrared Thermo scan units at Suvarnabhumi, Don Muang, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Krabi International Airports operate round-the-clock screening of all passengers, especially flights from Chinese cities.

At the same time, there is one confirmed case in Cambodia and also one suspected case reported in Myanmar. Laos has sealed off Golden Triangle road borders with China and Myanmar, suspended flights to China and no infected case reported to date.

Regarding the situation with the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China, there are some restrictions for traveling. At this moment it is advised not to travel to China. Regarding other destinations, there are no restrictions, but you need to check the travel alerts to be up to date with the information. We recommend you to check the information before traveling to estimate the risk at WHO or CDC and Foreign Office in your country.

III. How to prevent getting sick while traveling?

Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent 2019-nCoV; The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to this virus. According to the WHO (World Health Organization ), please follow these everyday preventive actions to help avoid the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

  • Regularly clean your hands with hand sanitizer or with soap and water. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes; nose and mouth if you haven’t washed your hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick, wild animals, unclean objects and surfaces
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue into the bin
  • Avoid eating uncooked food such as meat and fish. Vegetable and fruit should be cleaned before eating
  • Visit the hospital if there are any symptoms found such as high fever, cough, runny nose and difficulty breathing 

IV. Important Notes 

According to Harvard Health Blog ( Published by Harvard Medical School), unless you’ve been in close contact with someone who has the coronavirus — which right now, typically means people from Wuhan, China who actually has the virus — you’re likely to be safe. 

Apart from wearing a mask in crowded places, washing your hands and using hand sanitizer, you will need to boost your immune system with the vitamins in natural form to decrease the risk of catching the flu. Vitamin C is considered to be the best nutrient to ensure a strong immune system, adding citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, and kiwis, as well as guava, bell peppers, and broccoli, are all good sources. Also, getting iron from plant-based food such as nut ( almond; cashew…) or beans are good for regulating and maintaining immune system function. 

As the spread of virus come with the spread of fear and panic, however, If you are in fear or worried, your body is in a stressful state, a sympathetic state and if the body is in a constant state of stress it can inhibit some of the immune functions. When traveling, seeing everyone wearing a mask can lead to stress and anxiety If you are feeling anxious, take a moment to acknowledge the overwhelmed feeling and remain calm. 

Frequent exercise is one of the pillars of healthy living. It improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. So keep on moving and be active to contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently.

IV. Realistic Asia Operational Updates 

  • Trips to other destinations other than China which are Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina countries (Vietnam; Cambodia; Laos) remain unaffected and can go ahead unchanged.
  • Suppliers in these countries have not shown the same flexibility with cancellations as China. Read more about our terms and conditions or contact your travel consultant for further assistance. 
  • In our itineraries, we do not go to any market with meat or live animals in any of our destinations.
  • Realistic Asia tour  guides have been briefed on how to explain the situation to guests arriving/in-country
  • As stocks are low in Asia so the best is for travelers to bring masks and sanitizer gels along with them when traveling and clean their hands regularly. 
  • We assist in distributing masks for protection in case clients do not have their own. 

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