Coronavirus: What is it, and will it affect your vacation?
The Coronavirus outbreak has been making headlines all over the world! The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China on December 31st, 2019. This virus is zoonotic. This means that it is transferred between animals and people. Common symptoms are fever, coughing, and difficulty breathing. This virus can also cause pneumonia. As of March 06, 2020, the Coronavirus has killed at least 3,462 people and approximately 2101,876 people have been infected in 97 different countries and territories. Click here to get real time stats.
There are so many questions to consider when an epidemic happens somewhere in the world. To mitigate your risks, it is important to know that you have the flexibility to cancel an upcoming vacation. You don’t want to risk traveling and possibly catching this highly-contagious virus. Having the right travel insurance coverage, therefore, is crucial.
Is COVID-19 still Considered an unforeseen event?
As of March 05, 2020, COVID-19 is no longer considered an ‘unforeseen event’ by travel insurance agencies. It is now viewed as a ‘worldwide known entity’ and travel policies are being updated accordingly. TierOne Travel exclusively sells Manulife Travel Insurance and we have all the details about their policy updates in response to COVID-19. Find out more here.
Read on below for some answers to common questions people might have about the Coronavirus epidemic and if they will be covered by their travel insurance or not it they find themselves travelling during this time.
Questions & Answers
Q: What is a coronavirus?
A: Coronaviruses are a group of viruses found in animals and humans. Some infect people and are known to cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Q: What is a ‘novel’ coronavirus?
A: A Novel Coronavirus means that it is a new strain of Coronavirus that has not been identified before. This specific outbreak is called the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19.
Q: How dangerous is COVID-19?
A: Older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are more at risk. The majority of the time COVID-19 can cause mild symptoms such as runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever. In more severe cases it can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties, but it is rare that the virus is fatal.
Q: How does COVID-19 spread? How long is the incubation period?
A: This Coronavirus is a respiratory virus which spreads mainly through contact with an infected person (for example, coughs and sneezes can transmit the virus). It is very important to practise good cough and sneeze etiquette such as sneezing and coughing into your elbow. Wash your hands thoroughly and often, and avoid touching your face as much as possible. Once someone is infected, it could take up to 14 days to show any symptoms.
Q: I booked a trip overseas that leaves in three weeks. What are my options?
A: If you purchased a policy with Manulife Travel Insurance such as the Premium Protection Plan that includes Trip Cancellation, you will be able to cancel your trip and get a full refund of the non-refundable component of your trip up to the amount you are insured for.
Q: I am travelling to a country where a travel advisory is not in place, but I have decided I don’t want to travel because of the Coronavirus. Can I cancel?
A: If you have purchased a policy with Manulife Travel Insurance featuring the ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ element and the policy requirements have been met, you will be covered and will be reimbursed a portion of your trip costs.
Q: I want to go on a caribbean cruise IN 2021. Will I be covered by cancellation insurance if the Coronavirus continues until then?
A: If you purchase an insurance policy which includes ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ coverage, such as the Premium Protection plan, you will be covered.
Q: I want to book a trip to Hawaii. I’m going to get Premium Protection Insurance from Manulife. Will I be covered if the virus spreads and I want to cancel?
A: Yes, with the Premium Protection Plan you will receive ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ coverage if there is a Coronavirus outbreak in Hawaii before you planned to travel.
Q: What can I do to protect myself from the virus while traveling?
- Avoid contact with sick people, especially exhibiting the known symptoms of the Coronavirus: fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
- Avoid contact with animals such as pigs, chickens, ducks and wild birds.
- Wash your hands often and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Avoid touching your face.
- Be aware of the local situation and follow local public health advice, do your research on what is happening with the virus in your area.
- If you feel sick during a flight to Canada or upon arrival, inform the flight attendant or a Canadian Border Services Officer.
Q: Is it safe to travel by air right now?
A: Yes and no. The Government of Canada has travel advisories in place for China, Hong Kong, Iran, Japan, Northern Italy, Singapore and South Korea. Be sure to check for updates here and also to check with the country or area you are travelling to. Each destination will have different levels of risk. Overall, the chance of acquiring the virus is close to zero percent when traveling anywhere outside of China or Iran. Canada has no direct flights from Wuhan, and the volume of travellers arriving indirectly from Wuhan is low.
GET PEACE OF MIND WITH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Before you travel, be sure you have enough coverage. Travel insurance will provide you with peace of mind on your vacation. TierOne Travel can help you with all the details.