The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the Coronavirus. The outbreak first started in Wuhan, China, but cases have been identified in a growing number of other international locations, including the United States. Five imported cases have been confirmed in the U.S., in Washington State, California, Arizona and Illinois. The United States also reported the first confirmed instance of person-to-person spread with the virus today, January 30, bringing the total number of cases in the U.S. to six. However, the CDC still states that, for the general American public, who are unlikely to be exposed to this virus, the immediate health risk from coronavirus is considered low.
CDC has issued its top travel warning ‒ level 4 ‒ for China, stating that travelers avoid all travel to the country. The State Department has also issued a level 4 travel advisory (out of 4), advising travelers to not travel to China.
Members who have purchased travel insurance through Allianz should refer to the coverage alert.
Customers should contact their travel provider prior to canceling their travel arrangements. Some airlines and other travel suppliers may allow customers to cancel their trip and receive a refund or change their dates of travel without change fees when traveling to a destination affected by 2019-nCoV. If the customer changes the dates of their trip, they may also change the dates of coverage on their travel protection plan for up to 770 days from the date of purchase by visiting AllianzTravelInsurance.com or by calling the phone number on their plan.
While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat:
- It’s currently flu and respiratory disease season and CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, taking everyday preventive actions to help stop the spread of germs, and taking flu antivirals if prescribed.
- If you are a healthcare provider, be on the look-out for people who recently traveled from China and have fever and respiratory symptoms.
- If you are a healthcare provider caring for a 2019-nCoV patient or a public health responder, please take care of yourself and follow recommended infection control procedures.
- For people who have had close contact with someone infected with 2019-nCoV who develop symptoms, contact your healthcare provider, and tell them about your symptoms and your exposure to a 2019-nCoV patient.
- For people who are ill with 2019-nCoV, please follow CDC guidance on how to reduce the risk of spreading your illness to others. This guidance in on the CDC website.
AAA recommends the following when traveling:
- Avoid contact with sick people.
- Discuss travel with your healthcare provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
- Avoid animals, animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Know the nearest location of and contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate to contact them in case of an emergency. Also, enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
This morning, Thursday, February 6, all airlines have reduced their flight schedules between the U.S. and China; American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines have all posted travel advisories related to the outbreak. Some cruise lines and tour operators have also adjusted itineraries or changed travel policies in response.
AAA Travel is closely monitoring the situation and is in regular contact with travel partners. Check this page for updates or call AAA Travel at 800-444-8691 with questions about scheduled or upcoming travel plans.