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Travel Advice: Coronavirus (COVID-19)

icelolly.com are closely monitoring advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on travel to different holiday destinations following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, and in other countries worldwide.

Anyone due to travel is strongly advised to visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-office (where you can also sign up for email alerts for news on specific destinations) and https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak for the very latest information and advice.

What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in December 2019. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.

Which destinations are off limits?

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises British people against all non-essential travel worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.

What should I do if I have returned from an affected area?

Anyone returning from any affected areas is advised to call NHS 111 (NHS 24 on 111 out of hours in Scotland, 0300 200 7885 in Northern Ireland) and self isolate, even if no or very mild symptoms of the virus are showing. Under no circumstances should returning travellers visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

How can I find out if my flight has been cancelled?

As a result of the FCO-advised travel bans and reduced flight demand, the majority of airlines and holiday operators have cancelled flights, including Jet2, British Airways, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair, a decision they will keep under constant review.

If you're due to fly in the near future, you should receive an email or text to inform you about the situation and how to proceed. If you have not received this, be sure to check in directly with your airline as soon as possible, or view their website for the latest information. The last time we checked, the below was the case:

  • Jet2 have suspended their award-winning flights and holidays departing from the UK, and plan to recommence from 1st July 2020.

  • Ryanair also expects to operate commercial flights from 1st July 2020.

  • Tui announced beach holidays up to and including 18th June 2020 will no longer operate.

What happens if my travel plans are affected?

If you have a trip booked that can no longer go ahead, your rights as a traveller fully depend on your choice of airline and the small print within your travel insurance policy. As a rule of thumb, insurers and airlines generally take their cue from UK government travel advice.

What if I decide I don't want to travel?

If the FCO are not warning against travel to your intended destination, but you cancel your plans regardless, you are likely to lose most or all of your money as travel insurance is not designed to cover 'disinclination to travel'. An exception to this would be if you have booked a package holiday with a specific purpose that is now void e.g. to attend an event which has since been cancelled.

Are there any precautions I should take when travelling?

To help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading, the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has released the below guidelines:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash hands with soap and water.

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.

  • Use of facemasks is generally not recommended outside clinical settings. Should you decide to use a mask (or it is a requirement at your destination), you should ensure you continue to use all the recommended precautions in order to minimise the risk of transmission.

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Information in this article has been taken from the government’s latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) information and advice and is correct as of time of publication – 4th May 2020, 09:53am.