Coronavirus Information for Travelers

Policy Guidance for Leisure Travelers

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Travel Health and Prevention Tips

The common Human Coronaviruses mainly present as mild to moderate upper respiratory tract illnesses similar to the common cold. Symptoms may include runny nose, cough, fever, sore throat, headache and may progress to pneumonia or bronchitis with shortness of breath and easy fatigability.

Those at high risk of developing complications include those with underlying chronic conditions, such as respiratory and cardiac diseases, immunocompromised individuals, as well as those in extreme age groups (e.g. infants or the elderly). In addition, pregnant women are also at higher risk if infected by COVID-19.

Diagnosis
Diagnostic tests are normally performed only when a person is having more severe symptoms. This would include serum PCR assay, nasal swab, broncho-alveolar lavage, sputum and sometimes stool samples.

Treatment
There is no specific treatment or vaccination for Coronaviruses and most mild cases are treated based on symptoms. Symptom relief may be achieved by taking pain and fever medication, using a room humidifier, drinking plenty of liquids and staying indoors as well as getting as much rest as possible.

If symptoms are more severe, please seek treatment from your healthcare provider.

On 10 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an interim guideline for all countries to prepare for this new virus outbreak. However standard recommendations need to be followed for prevention of the spread of infection. These include:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing and follow with hand hygiene.
  • Avoid crowded places especially within a closed and confined space.
  • Thoroughly cook meats and eggs.
  • Avoid eating raw meat, fish and eggs.
  • Avoid unnecessary exposure to animals and avoid petting animals.
  • Avoid contact with people suffering from acute respiratory illnesses.
  • Stay home when you are having symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection.
  • Drink plenty of water and keep well hydrated.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces touched by an infected person.

The above measures are effective against all infectious agents, including Influenza A and B (“the flu”), which sickens millions of individual worldwide and kills thousands each year.

Quarantine
On 11 February 2020, WHO published considerations for repatriation and quarantine of travelers and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) issued a travel health notice for travelers from China arriving in the U.S. These include taking the following steps to reduce exposure and limit transmission:

  • Travelers are required to be monitored for up to 14 days after leaving China.
  • Travelers should stay home and monitor their health within this 14-day period and a health official will contact you to give you additional instructions.
  • Cover mouth and nose when sneezing and coughing by using disposable tissue and follow with hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Take your temperature with a thermometer two times a day and watch your health.
  • If you develop a fever (100.4F/38C), cough or have difficulty breathing call your health department for advice before seeking care. If you can’t reach your health department, call ahead before going to a doctor’s office or emergency room.

At present, no travel ban has been imposed by WHO. However, WHO advised that if any traveler has symptoms suggestive of acute respiratory illness during their travel period or after returning, they should seek medical attention and highlight their recent travel to the medical personnel. Several countries have imposed increased screening (and at least one outright ban) on travelers coming from the affected region in China. On 2 February 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Level 4 Travel Advisory, which advises against all travel to China.

WHO has advised all worldwide healthcare personnel and airport security personnel to be extra vigilant and enact enhancement of surveillance at airports for early detection and prevention of spread of the disease.

Please visit the WHO website for further information.

AIG assumes no liability or responsibility for the use, interpretation or application of any of the information contained herein. The information is for general informational purposes only. None of the information contained in this material is intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical problem.