The Coronavirus in China
Travel Precautions

Should you delay or cancel your trip to China?

China Coronavirus Map: Wuhan

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The Coronavirus also known as the Wuhan Virus after the city where the outbreak began, is an infectious respiratory disease that was first contained to Hubei Province in December 2019.

At the onset of the outbreak the government stepped up precautions to contain the epidemic, including an unprecedented travel ban that encompassed all cities surrounding Wuhan and impacting some 50 million residents. Despite the measures, cases did spread to other parts of the Mainland, the rest of Asia and many other countries creating a global health emergency and in March 11, 2020 the WHO declared the 2019-nCoV a pandemic.

Here are some FAQ's about the virus and precautions that should be taken when traveling to China.

What are the Symptoms of the Coronavirus?

  • The incubation period for contracting the virus and the onset of symptoms is between six to 10 days.
  • The new coronavirus causes a fever, fatigue, sore throat and dry cough in the early stages of the disease
  • As the illness progresses, patients may experience difficulty breathing and shortness of breath

How is the Coronavirus transmitted?

Like other coronaviruses - such as the common cold - the virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. It can also be spread when someone touches a contaminated surface such as a door handle.

Should you delay or cancel your trip to China?

The situation is evolving and you should keep tabs on the latest news if you are planning on traveling to China so you know what to expect. The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. March 12, 2020 update:

The US State Department's highest-level travel warning Level 4 for China Do Not Travel still stands.

The CDC's Level 3 Warning to avoid all non-essential travel to China is also still in effect.

Although measures are easing in the hardest hit areas near Wuhan and Hubei and provinces are lowering alert levels, many transport hubs, including air and rail are running in a limited capacity as people begin to return to work. Schools remain closed. Most importantly, China has shifted its focus from coronavirus cases inside the country to those arriving from abroad.

That means you should be prepared for additional travel precautions and red tape like health declaration forms and screening measures at the ports of entry. Restrictions are put in effect with little or no advance notice.

In Beijing, ALL international arrivals must go into a 14-day quarantine regardless of whether you are coming from a country that has not been hard-hit by the Coronavirus. You will be put under quarantine upon arrival for 14 days, either at home if you are a returnee or in designated hotels.

In Shanghai, the 14-day quarantine applies for travellers who have been to South Korea, Italy, Iran, and Japan, in the previous 14 days.

Hong Kong bans non-locals arriving from South Korea and those from Hubei province in mainland China and imposes a 14-day quarantine on arrivals from other regions in mainland China, Iran, Italy, parts of France, Germany and Japan

Here's what to expect at the airports when arriving in Beijing and Shanghai.

Many of the most popular tourist attractions in China remain closed temporarily until further notice:

  • In Beijing, the Forbidden City and sections of the Great Wall and the Ming Tombs have been shut down as well as the Lunar New Year Temple Fairs.
  • In Shanghai, Yuyuan Garden, the Shanghai Zoo, Shanghai Grand Theater, Shanghai Wild Animal Park, Shanghai Haichang Ocean Park, Disneyland Shanghai, Shanghai World Financial Center Observation Deck, the Xujiahuiyuan scenic area, and A-level tourist attractions in Qingpu District such as Zhujiajiao watertown are all temporarily closed. Huangpu River cruises have also suspended operations.
  • In Hong Kong and Macau major Chinese New Year celebrations including parades and fireworks were scrapped. Many popular attractions have been closed temporarily including Hong Kong Disneyland, Ocean Park and the Ngong Ping Cable Car. Victoria Peak remains open and Victoria Harbour Cruises are still running. Here's the latest update on what's closed / open / cancelled, etc. in Hong Kong

Airlines including Delta, AAmerican and United are waiving fees to reschedule flights and said they would refund tickets to Wuhan, many airlines are in fact cancelling their flights to China.

Many hotel chains including Hilton, Marriott and Hyatt, are also waiving cancellation fees for reservations at its hotels in China.

Cruise lines Carnival Corp. and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said they are NOT allowing anyone who lives in or recently passed through Wuhan to board.

When returning to your home country, there might be further travel restrictions imposed, you can count on tighter screening measures and quarantines.

Recommendations and Precautions to Prevent Infection

Some simple and common sense precautions all travelers and the regular population for that matter should follow:

  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Wash hands thoroughly and often
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean
  • Cover your mouth when coughing/sneezing, but not with your hand, use a tissue or your sleeve if you must
  • Avoid touching animals (live or dead) and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)
  • Avoid the wet markets, live bird markets and farms
  • If showing any symptoms (high fever, coughing), get treatment right away
  • If showing any symptoms after you return, advise your physician you have been in China. Before you go to a doctor's office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms

More on Staying Safe and Healthy

Plan Your Trip To China

Coronavirus in China Latest News

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