The global outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to affect travellers, tour agents, governments and local businesses. Below, we’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions, to help provide answers to the key issues surrounding COVID-19. All information is accurate at the time of writing.
How many cases of COVID-19 are there worldwide?
According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), the total number of confirmed global cases has now gone beyond 100,000. The majority of these are in China, with around 80,000 cases confirmed and contained. So far, there have been 3,584 deaths as a result of COVID-19 (WHO Situation Report #48 – Sunday, 8th March 20).
What are the symptoms?
The COVID-19 virus appears similar to seasonal flu, with fever, dry cough and breathing difficulties being the most common early warning signs. Most patients report mild symptoms and make a full recovery. Even those with more severe symptoms are likely to recover completely, as with the regular flu.
How dangerous is the virus?
A recent study in China found that about 80% of confirmed cases had fairly mild symptoms (defined as no significant infection in the lungs). About 15% had more severe symptoms and fewer than 5% of cases were critical. The mortality rate of COVID-19 appears to be less than 3%, with mostly elderly people and those with pre-existing respiratory or cardiac conditions most at risk. Mortality rates drop sharply for anyone aged below 50, and children so far appear to be relatively unaffected by the virus. Even among the over-80s, 90% are expected to recover.
What is being done to stop the spread?
WHO has issued a guidance package for countries affected by the virus, to help them slow and stop its transmission. WHO is urging all countries to prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19 by readying emergency response systems. Travellers are likely to experience intensified screening in airports, with officials enquiring about their state of health and travel history.
WHO does not recommend any travel restrictions at this time.
What is the current situation in Indonesia / Thailand / Vietnam / Malaysia?
All Panorama Destination countries remain open for business as usual. Although Vietnam and Indonesia have placed restrictions on arrivals from China as a precaution, citizens of all other countries are encouraged to visit each of these destinations as normal.
Should I cancel my holiday plans?
No. So long as you take the proper precautions and stay alert to potential risks, there’s no reason to change or cancel your vacation. However, if you think you could be carrying the virus, you should get checked before you travel.
What can I do to stay safe?
Wearing a face mask in public can help to protect you against the ‘splash’ of sneezes and coughs, but not infection through the eyes. The best safeguard is to keep your skin clean. Avoid touching your face; wash your hands regularly with soap and water, rinsing thoroughly for at least 20 seconds; and carry a bottle of hand sanitizer to use in transit, particularly after being on public transport or in areas where large groups of people may gather.
“We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the healthcare system, the workplace or the transport system.” – WHO.
Where can I find more information?
We suggest all agents check the WHO website for the latest updates on the virus, along with tips for staying safe and being aware. They issue a daily Situation Report that provides the most reliable and authoritative information available.
You can also follow the latest developments with us on each of our social media channels:
Or feel free to get in touch via email: firstname.lastname@example.org