The fast spread of the deadly Coronavirus has prompted the US Government to recommend avoiding non-essential travel to China
Airlines are waiving fees for changing flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Delta has extended its one-time flight change waiver fee through Feb. 29
United also has waived change fees through the end of February and is offering refunds to passengers traveling to Wuhan, where the outbreak started, until March 29.
Additional international airlines are expected to issue similar waivers as the Coronavirus spreads around the world.
Cathay Pacific and American Airlines reportedly are allowing crews to wear surgical masks on flights.
If you have an airline reservation for China or another destination in the most seriously affected cities in Asia, contact your carrier for updates
Staying healthy in-flight
While seat backs and tray tables on long-haul aircraft like those flying between the USA and China are individually wiped down by ground crew between flights, consider bringing alcohol-based wipes to make your own second pass.
Or, make your own out of liquid hand sanitizer on a paper towel or tissue
Ditto armrests, and the touch-screen entertainment system
The Coronavirus is the latest example of why you should have travel insurance to cover emergencies, from missing luggage to a health crisis.
Travel insurance protects you against losses from missed connections, missing baggage, cancelled tours, cancelled flights, even losing your passport and emergency medical evacuation.
Just like your personal health insurance, travel insurance policies vary widely by coverage and cost, including a feature that lets you cancel your trip for any reason, such as fear of exposure to Coronavirus.
The largest and best travel insurance companies have toll-free help centers that operate 24/7, including toll-free international calls.
The CDC has raised the travel precautions to China to its highest of three levels, meaning travelers are advised to “avoid nonessential travel” to the country.
The CDC has said it is now monitoring for symptoms of the virus among passengers arriving at 20 US airports, including John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
There are currently no vaccines available to protect you against human Coronavirus infection.
This is the advice from the CDC how to protect yourself
You may be able to reduce your risk of infection by doing the following:
- wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
- avoid close contact with people who are sick
For information about hand washing, see CDC’s Clean Hands Save Lives
How to protect others
If you have cold-like symptoms, you can help protect others by doing the following:
- stay home while you are sick
- avoid close contact with others
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands
- clean and disinfect objects and surfaces
There are no specific treatments for illnesses caused by human coronaviruses.
Most people with common human coronavirus illness will recover on their own. However, you can do some things to relieve your symptoms
- take pain and fever medications (Caution: do not give Aspirin to children)
- use a room humidifier or take a hot shower to help ease a sore throat and cough
If you are mildly sick, you should
- drink plenty of liquids
- stay home and rest
If you are concerned about your symptoms, you should see your healthcare provider.