Travel in the Time of COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

The travel industry has slowly crippled due travel ban & notices with the the respiratory disease outbreak caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that was first detected in China. It has now been detected in almost 70 locations internationally. The virus has been named “SARS-CoV-2” causing the “coronavirus disease 2019” or “COVID-19”.

Should I cancel my travel?

Travel notices given by CDC are based on assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area which CDC recommends postponing or canceling travel plans. Philippines has banned travels to several countries to prevent Filipinos from getting infected. If you have any travel plans before the outbreaks, always check the updated list of destinations with CDC travel notices.

Warning Level 3: Avoid all nonessential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices because of the risk of getting COVID-19.
Layovers at airports in destinations with level 3 travel notices are included in nonessential travels to avoid. If a layover is unavoidable, CDC recommends that travelers not leave the airport.

Alert Level 2: Older adults and those with chronic medical conditions should talk to a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel to destinations with level 2 travel notices.

Watch Level 1: CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with level 1 travel notices because the risk of COVID-19 is thought to be low. If you travel, take the following routine precautions:

  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands
  • Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol
  • Wash hands hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

Can I get a refund of my airline tickets due to COVID-19

Each company establishes its own refund policies with some companies may base their policies on Philippine Government & Civil Aeronautics Board advisories. Check out the travel advisories for each airlines:

What is the risk of getting COVID-19 on an airplane?

Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, travelers should try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contain 60%–95% alcohol.

What happens if there is a sick passenger on a flight?

If a sick traveler is considered to be a public health risk, CDC works with local and state health departments and international public health agencies to contact passengers and crew exposed to that sick traveler—according to CDC disease protocols.

What if I recently traveled to an area affected by COVID-19 and got sick?

If you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, within 14 days after you left a country with a COVID-19 outbreak:

  • Seek medical advice – Call ahead before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room. Tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Do not on public transportation or public bath house
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water immediately after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.

Where can I travel safely if I really want to

Travel locally is the best alternative if you’re feeling cooped up or stressed from work and in dire need to be somewhere. As of this writing, there have been no new reported COVID-19 (positive or suspected) cases in the Philippines. It is still best to follow methods to keep yourself safe & healthy.

How can I make sure I am safe from COVID-19?

  • Wash your hands with soap and water regularly for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains 60%–95% alcohol.
  • Wash hands hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose

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