February 16, 2020
by John Larson
Updated April 20, 2020
Due to varying policies in different countries, coronavirus pandemic-related travel regulations and restrictions could change over time. Please check with travel providers or travel agents for the latest information, especially if traveling to another country.
The coronavirus that medical officials say originated in Wuhan, China (in Hubei Province), is still a threat to thousands of people, as of this writing. As the death toll and infections continue to increase, here are some things people need to know about the coronavirus (also known also known as COVID-19) before traveling.
As of this writing, most countries have banned or severely limited travel to and from China. Check with official travel agencies to find out what the restrictions are for your country.
March 14, 2020 UPDATE: Following the U.S. ban of flights from Europe to the United States, several airlines have been cancelling or reducing flights to and from Europe and the United States. Some airlines have also been decreasing the number of flights to and from the U.S. and South America. Check with individual airlines to find out what their latest policies are.
April 20, 2020 UPDATE: The U.S. is temporarily suspending immigration to the United States. Details will be posted here as soon as they are confirmed.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak, people have been quarantined if they have traveled from China or areas where there have been a number of infected people. In the United States, people returning from high-risk areas are expected to undergo quarantines for about 14 days after their arrival back home.
Cruise ships have experienced quarantines, and most have cancelled future trips in 2020 until further notice. People who have travel plans on a cruise ship need to check directly with the ship’s parent company for the latest updates.
On February 16, 2020, about 400 American passengers on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan were expected to disembark and travel back to the United States, according to NBC News. The U.S. Department of State released a statement saying that there were 428 U.S. citizens on the ship.
NBC reported that as of February 14, 2020, of the 771 passengers and crew that have been tested, 218 have tested are positive for the virus, and at least 32 of them are Americans. The infected Americans will be further quarantined at Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, according to the report. They will be kept away from the quarantined Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, in the second week of February 2020.
March 8, 2020 UPDATE: There have been more Princess Cruise ships that have been quarantined, including the Grand Princess, which carried 3,500 people and was docked in Oakland, California. The U.S. State Department has now advised against travel on cruise ships. Seniors and people with underlying health issues are especially at risk. In addition, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a statement saying that there is “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”
March 20, 2020 UPDATE: Most states in the U.S. now have some type of voluntary quarantine policy, where people are encouraged to stay home, unless it’s related to a job, medical reasons, or essential errands, such as getting food, drinks, supplies or exercise. When outside of your home, social distancing is encouraged, by staying at least six feet apart from people who do not live with you. Because people are being discouraged from traveling unless it’s absolutely necessary, all forms of transportation have been significant reduced. Many travel bookings have a high likelihood of being cancelled or postponed during this coronavirus pandemic, so check with the individual transportation company where a trip is booked to get the latest updates on that trip and the company’s current policies on refunds.
Here are the countries that have done official evacuations for their citizens who were in or near Wuhan, China, during the coronavirus outbreak:
- New Zealand
- The Philippines
- South Korea
- Sri Lanka
- United Kingdom
- United States
This article will be updated with any important breaking news.