Around the world cases of coronavirus – COVID-19 – have grown to 90,912, the majority of these in the country of origin, China. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to reveal his “battle plan” following the surge in cases across the UK – which now stands at 40.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “A lot of people, not least because it is mild, will be best off at home than in hospital, so we are expanding the number of home ventilation kits that are available so that can be done.
“The NHS, of course, has a full plan for this and prepares for this even when there isn’t an outbreak.”
Director General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned on Monday: “We are in unchartered territory.
“We have never before seen a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission, but which can also be contained with the right measures.”
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What happens if you’ve booked a holiday?
If you are due to travel, it is understandable if now you are feeling apprehensive following the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you have a trip planned to China, Italy, South Korea or Iran, and no longer wish to travel, you will need to contact your airline or holiday provider.
Consulting your travel insurance policy is also vital in order to make sure your rights are protected in case of cancellation.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against all but essential travel to mainland China, and all travel to Hubei Province.
Coronavirus travel advice: More than 90,000 people have been infected globally
If you opt to go against advice and travel anyway, you risk invalidating your insurance policy – however, you may be able to argue the trip was essential.
This would then be down to your insurance company to decide.
For those travelling to Italy, there are some areas in the north of the country on lockdown.
Major events in northern Italy have been cancelled, and those landing at Milan’s Malpensa airport will have to have their temperature measured by thermal scan to ensure you don’t have a fever.
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However fights from the UK are operating as normal, however, some airlines have said they will rebook passengers who wish to change where in Italy they want to travel to.
For example, British Airways has said some passengers who are due to fly to airports in the north of Italy, including Venice, Bologna, Verona, Milan, Turin and Bergamo, can rebook their trip for a later date.
Airlines Air Canada and Delta have also said they will allow similar transfers.
Some hotels in areas under lockdown are offering refunds or the chance to rebook.
However, if the area and hotel are open and the booking is non-refundable you may not be able to change your trip – and so contact the hotel for more details.
For those travelling in the coming days or weeks, it is worth contacting your airline to hear your options.
Will you get a refund?
If the FCO has not issued a warning for the area you are travelling to, this means you can’t expect compensation if you decide not to travel.
Su Crown, a spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers, said: “In general, cancellation or travel disruption cover will activate when the FCO advises against all travel or all but essential travel to an area.
“Travel insurance is not designed to cover ‘disinclination to travel’ where the FCO advice has not changed to advise against travel.”
Coronavirus travel advice: Some airlines will allow you to rebook
Nel Mooy, head of travel proposition at AXA – one of the top travel insurers – agreed with this position.
He said: “Our stance is consistent with the travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,”.
AXA said: ”When the FCO advises against travel to a country or a region, people who are booked to travel there should call their airline or travel provider to cancel or postpone and arrange a refund.”
“Then they should contact their insurer to register a claim.”
Coronavirus travel advice: Travellers may be feeling wary due to the outbreaks
Government advice for travellers
For those travelling back to the UK from abroad, the advice from the Government is as follows
Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people immediately if you’ve travelled to the UK from:
- Hubei province in China in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms
- Iran, lockdown areas in northern Italy or special care zones in South Korea since 19 February, even if you do not have symptoms
- other parts of mainland China or South Korea, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan or Thailand in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild)
- other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar or Vietnam since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath (even if your symptoms are mild)
Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
In Scotland call your GP or NHS 24 on 111 out of hours.
In Wales call 111 (if available in your area) or 0845 46 47.
Certain areas are under special measures in South Korea and Italy.
Lockdown areas in northern Italy:
- in Lombardy: Codogno, Castiglione d’Adda, Casalpusterlengo, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo and San Fiorano
- in Veneto: Vo’ Euganeo
Special care zones in South Korea: