Travel Safety Tips for Coronavirus

Coronavirus / COVID-19 Travel Tips

The first case of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) was reported in Wuhan, Hubei, China in December 2019. Early cases were believed to be linked to a live animal market in Wuhan and have since been spreading from person to person. Shortly after, cases of the COVID-19 virus began to appear outside of China. 

On January 30th of 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. On February 27th of 2020, they said that the novel coronavirus has pandemic potential. On 11th of March of 2020, the outbreak was labelled as a pandemic by the WHO. As of 27th of March 2020, the novel coronavirus has spread to 199 countries and territories. However, the list is constantly updated.

The situation in Canada

As of the 27th of March 2020, there are 4,018 confirmed cases in Canada. The number is updated daily. Prime minister Justin Trudeau (who’s wife tested positive for the virus) announced the country is closing the borders to anyone who is not a citizen, permanent resident or American

Current travel bans

With good reason, travelers have increasingly been getting anxious about the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 virus outbreak. CBC reported that starting March 18, in order to enhance screening, international flights will only land at the international airports in Toronto, Vancouver, Monreal, and Calgary. Incoming domestic flights and those arriving from the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean, and St. Pierre et Miquelon are still permitted to land at other airports.

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Consider postponing or canceling your travel

  • If you have travel insurance, it’s pretty easy to postpone or cancel your travel. Just give them a call or an email and they should take care of it. 
  • If you don’t have travel insurance, we recommend you to get in touch with the airlines and hotels you booked. Given the situation, in most cases, chances are that they will waive cancellation fees.

Returning from Travel? 

If you’re currently abroad, you should know that starting at midnight on March 25th, returning Canadian travelers will have to enter a mandatory, 14-day isolation period, even if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms, under the Quarantine Act. 

When you arrive in Canada, you will be asked if you have a cough, fever, or difficulty breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, you must immediately head to your isolation place (use only private transportation), where you won’t be in contact with vulnerable people (elderly and individuals who suffer from underlying medical conditions). If you don’t have an isolation place, you will be required to isolate in a special facility designated by the Chief Public Health Officer.

Emily Briggs, who recently traveled from Malawi to the US shared her experience with us: “I traveled from Malawi to Ethiopia to Frankfurt to San Francisco then finally home to San Diego. 42 hours of travel. The anticipation before the flight, seeing the multiple flights cancel, borders closing, and not being able to get in touch with my airline was much scarier than the trip itself. Your mind goes to the worst-case scenario, getting stuck in an unknown country. As I was landing in Germany I found out my original flight from Frankfurt to San Diego was canceled, just by checking online. I received no notices. Thankfully I was able to speak to the customer service desk and got a new flight. Each person had their own row on the plane. A lady in front of me asked the flight attendant, “what is it going to be like when we land?” Nobody knew. Surprisingly, once we landed it was a quick check, 10 people at a time, a medical professional asked me a few questions, told me I’m quarantined to my home for 14 days and was through the customs line in 5 minutes. It was a bit concerning to me that my temperature was not checked since it was even checked in Malawi on my way there. However, I was very thankful to have made it home safely.”

Recommendations during travel

If you must travel (for example, to get home), you need to take precautions against respiratory illnesses, and, if you become sick, seek medical attention.

During your trip:

  • Don’t go to crowded areas and avoid large crowds.
  • Keep yourself updated with the situation of the country you’re in and follow public health recommendations.
  • Avoid contact with sick people, particularly if they have a cough, difficulty breathing, or fever.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • When you cough and sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with your arm or a tissue. Dispose of the tissue immediately and wash your hands afterward.


These simple steps will help flatten the curve and get back to our normal lives.

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By Ishani | March 27, 2020 | Travel Tips | 0 comments