What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a form of virus typically causing a range of respiratory tract illnesses and flu like symptoms. The majority of coronaviruses won’t harm us, with just 7 being known to infect humans on top of animal species in which they are common. According to health experts, most people will contract at least one common coronavirus in their lifetime.
Recent Outbreak In China
The World Health Organisation (WHO) first reported the discovery of the recently named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) on the 9th January 2020. This coronavirus originated in Wuhan, China and has since spread to at least two dozen other countries. As of the 12th of February 2020, the virus has over 44,000 confirmed cases and has caused at least 1,100 deaths.
There are a range of symptoms caused by coronaviruses with some cases being more severe than others. The most common symptoms include headache, sore throat, cough and fever, but the more severe cases can lead to illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis, which is especially dangerous in the elderly, infant, and those with weakened immune systems.
If you experience any of these symptoms contact your GP immediately as well as NHS 111. This is even more important for those who have also recently travelled to areas with outbreaks, ensure that you disclose this information to your GP so that they can take the precautionary measures and carry out tests to detect the virus.
There is currently no vaccine available to protect us from coronavirus. However, the NHS has recommended the following as the best strategies of prevention and to stop spreading the disease:
- Avoid contact with those who are unwell
- Frequently wash your hands with water and soap
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough and put tissues in the bin immediately after use
- Don’t touch your mouth, eyes or nose with unclean hands
On top of these methods, avoid travel to China, especially the Wuhan or Hubei province, and any other areas of outbreak. If you must travel to these areas, regularly wash your hands and stay clear of anyone appearing ill and animal or bird markets. If you’ve recently returned from these areas, avoid contact with others to stop the virus spreading and stay inside.
We would recommend that clients insist any staff returning from areas of outbreak stay at home for at least 14 days after returning.
What This Means For Travel
The FCO is advising against all travel to China unless essential and strongly advising against all travel to Wuhan and Hubei province. If you have a trip already booked which is affected by the situation and have a form of travel insurance, you may be covered. This will depend on the cover you have and your specific policy wording.
If you are planning on booking a trip in the near future, any trips booked to areas advised against by the FCO will not be covered for cancellation if booked after the advice was published and even if medical expenses cover remains in place, insurers can not guarantee that they will be able to deliver support in effected areas.
If you are leaving China, the government may make special arrangements to assist in your return, but you may be required to undergo health checks or a period of quarantine or isolation upon return.
For more information click here to go to the NHS page on coronavirus.
For further advice on Travel Insurance and other impacts on insurance from the recent outbreak, Contact Bullerwell & Co Ltd today.