Travel and Coronavirus COVID-19Admin2020-08-03T10:36:04+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions about Travel

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APPS | Digital QR codes and APP’s for life after the pandemic?Admin2020-04-23T16:11:16+00:00

Imagine your daily routine being entirely dependent on a smart phone app. Leaving your home, taking the subway, going to work, entering cafes, restaurants and shopping malls — each move, dictated by the color shown on your screen. Green: you’re free to proceed. Amber or Red: you’re barred from entry.

This has been the reality for hundreds of millions of people in China since midway through the coronavirus crisis and could be happening in many other countries of the world soon.

Some news about this can be found at the following websites:

CASH | Can banknotes (cash) spread the coronavirus?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:34+00:00

Though there is not a straight answer like YES or NO it seems the chances of a transmission of the Coronavirus COVID-19 via banknotes (cash) is very small. An interesting article about it is written here with some background information, research and references.

CHILDREN | Are children also at risk of infection and what is their potential role in transmission?Admin2020-05-01T15:11:18+00:00

Children make up a very small proportion of reported COVID-19 cases, with about 1% of all cases reported being under 10 years, and 4% aged 10-19 years. Children appear as likely to be infected as adults, but they have a much lower risk than adults of developing symptoms or severe disease. There is still some uncertainty about the extent to which asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic children transmit disease.

Update: Recently (April 27th) some rare syndrome has been seen in UK children, and the WHO is investigating whether coronavirus causes rare inflammatory disease in some kids. Stay tuned as we will update when we know more.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
Country Region ENTRY RESTRICTIONS | Where can I travel to?Admin2020-06-01T14:03:16+00:00

Check the latest Country/Regions travel restrictions here

MASKS | Will wearing a face mask protect me against COVID-19?Admin2020-04-23T16:04:56+00:00

If you are infected, the use of surgical face masks may reduce the risk of you infecting other people. On the other hand there is no evidence that face masks will effectively prevent you from becoming infected with the virus. In fact, it is possible that the use of face masks may even increase the risk of infection due to a false sense of security and increased contact between hands, mouth and eyes while wearing them. The inappropriate use of masks also may increase the risk of infection.

In many countries, face masks are only advised for medical personnel. People who work with (possibly) infected people use professional face masks. These face masks only help if they are used correctly; they must fit closely over the nose and mouth and they must be changed regularly. The simple (paper) face masks that most people use do not protect the wearer against the virus.

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.
  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Information from the CDC in the USA: In light of new data about how COVID-19 spreads, along with evidence of widespread COVID-19 illness in communities across the country, CDC recommends that people wear a cloth face covering to cover their nose and mouth in the community setting. This is to protect people around you if you are infected but do not have symptoms. Some more FAQ from the CDC is given here.

Source: ECDC, RIVM & CDC
RISKS | Are some people more at risk than others?Admin2020-04-23T16:05:46+00:00

Elderly people above 70 years of age and those with underlying health conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) are considered to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. Men in these groups also appear to be at a slightly higher risk than females.

  • People of 70 years and older and those with underlying health conditions (e.g. hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer) are considered to be more at risk of developing severe symptoms. This includes people (18 years and older) with the following health problems:
  • Abnormalities and disfunctions of the respiratory tract and lungs;
  • Chronic heart conditions;
  • Diabetes mellitus;
  • Severe kidney conditions requiring dialysis or kidney transplant;
  • Reduced resistance to infections:
    • Through medication for auto-immune diseases,
    • After organ transplant
    • haematological diseases (blood diseases)
    • In the case of congenital immune disorders, or those developed later, for which treatment is necessary
    • In the case of chemotherapy and /or radiation in cancer patients;
    • An untreated HIV-infection or an HIV-infection with a CD4-number lower than 200/mm3.

To have an idea of the case fatality rate of COVID-19 by age, look here. or if you want more information by preexisting health conditions, look here.

Source: ECDC, RIVM & All of Our World in Data
SOCIAL DISTANCING | What is physical (social) distancing and why and how should I do it?Admin2020-04-23T16:07:29+00:00

Physical distancing aims to reduce physical contact between potentially infected people and healthy people, or between population groups with high rates of transmission and others with low or no level of transmission. The objective of this is to decrease or interrupt the spread of COVID-19. Minimizing contact with each other means also the virus will spread more slowly.  Consequently, few people become infected and healthcare institutions don’t become overwhelmed.

Note that the term ‘physical distancing’ means the same thing as the widely used term ‘social distancing’, but it more accurately describes what is intended, namely that people keep physically apart. Physical distancing measures might be implemented over an extended period and their success depends on ensuring that people maintain social contact – from a distance – with friends, family and colleagues. Internet-based communications and the phone are therefore key tools for ensuring a successful physical distancing strategy.

On a personal level, you can perform physical distancing measures by:

  • Voluntarily self-isolating if you know you have the virus that causes COVID-19, or if you have suggestive respiratory symptoms, or if you belong to a high-risk group (i.e. you are aged 70 years or more, or you have an underlying health condition).

Many countries in the EU/EEA and the UK have installed quarantine and social/physical distancing as measures to prevent the further spread of the virus.

These measures can include:

  • The full or partial closure of educational institutions and workplaces;
  • Limiting the number of visitors and limiting the contact between the residents of confined settings, such as long-term care facilities and prisons;
  • Cancellation, prohibition and restriction of mass gatherings and smaller meetings;
  • Mandatory quarantine of buildings or residential areas;
  • Internal or external border closures;
  • Stay-at-home restrictions for entire regions or countries.
Source: ECDC & RIVM
SPREADING | What can I do to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus?Admin2020-04-27T22:40:55+00:00
  • Stay at home as much as possible
    • Limit visitors to your home whenever possible (maximal 3 visitors)
    • Keep 1.5 meters distance from each other
  • Only go outside if it is really necessary
    • For work, if you are unable to work from home, for grocery shopping, for fresh air, or to do an errand for someone else.
  • Do not visit people over 70 years of age or people with vulnerable health
    • Certainly never visit if you have any cold or flu symptoms
  • If you go outside, keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from other people (with the exception of members of your household and children of 12 years and under.
  • Groups consisting of more than 2 people who do not adhere to the 1.5 meter distance rule could receive a fine.
  • Ensure good hygiene practice
    • Wash your hands
      • For 20 seconds with water and soap, and dry them thoroughly
      • Before you leave home, when you return home, when you have blown your nose, and, of course, before eating and after going to the toilet.
    • Cough and sneeze into the inside of your elbow
    • Use paper tissues to blow your nose and throw these away immediately
    • Wash your hands afterwards
    • Do not shake hands
    • Keep 1.5 meters distance (2 arm lengths) from others to reduce the risk of spreading the virus through respiratory droplets.
      • This applies to everyone; for example; in the street, in shops, with colleagues, except at home within the family group or household.
  • If you feel unwell, stay at home. If you develop any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, you should immediately call your healthcare provider for advice.

See other FAQ in the Spreading | Prevention category via this link.

Source: RIVM, ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
SPREADING | What is the mode of transmission? How (easily) does it spread?Admin2020-04-23T16:08:34+00:00

We still don’t fully understand how the new coronavirus spreads, but we’re learning more every day.

While animals are believed to be the original source, the virus spread is now from person to person (human-to-human transmission). There is not enough epidemiological information at this time to determine how easily this virus spreads between people, but it is currently estimated that, on average, one infected person will infect between two and three other people.

The virus seems to be transmitted mainly via small respiratory droplets through sneezing, coughing, or when people interact with each other for some time in close proximity (usually less than one metre). These droplets can then be inhaled, or they can land on surfaces that others may come into contact with, who can then get infected when they touch their nose, mouth or eyes. The virus can survive on different surfaces from several hours (copper, cardboard) up to a few days (plastic and stainless steel). However, the amount of viable virus declines over time and may not always be present in sufficient numbers to cause infection.

The incubation period for COVID-19 (i.e. the time between exposure to the virus and onset of symptoms) is currently estimated to bet between one and 14 days.

We know that the virus can be transmitted when people who are infected show symptoms such as coughing. There is also some evidence suggesting that transmission can occur from a person that is infected even two days before showing symptoms; however, uncertainties remain about the effect of transmission by  non-symptomatic persons.

If you want more in-depth information the an interesting article about how are people being infected with COVID-19 can be found on the website of livescience.

Source: ECDC (European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control)
TRAVEL | How about Travel?Admin2020-04-23T16:09:47+00:00

If you must travel, take the following steps to help reduce your chances of getting sick:

  • Avoid contact with sick people, in particular those with respiratory symptoms and fever.
  • It should be emphasised that older people and those with underlying health conditions should take these precautionary measures very seriously.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • It is especially important to clean hands after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Make sure you are up to date with your routine vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.
  • Travellers who develop any symptoms during or after travel should self-isolate; those developing acute respiratory symptoms within 14 days upon return should be advised to seek immediate medical advice, ideally by phone first to their national healthcare provider.
Source: CDC & ECDC
TRAVEL | What is the risk of infection when travelling by plane?Admin2020-04-23T16:11:24+00:00

The risk of being infected on an airplane cannot be excluded, but is currently considered to be low for an individual traveller. The risk of being infected in an airport is similar to that of any other place where many people gather. If it is established that a COVID-19 case has been on an airplane, other passengers who were at risk (as defined by how near they were seated to the infected passenger) will be contacted by public health authorities. Should you have questions about a flight you have taken, please contact your local health authority for advice.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) recommended measures to be taken by national authorities, such as thorough disinfecting and cleaning of aircraft after each flight serving high-risk destinations. EASA also recommended that airlines operating on all routes step up the frequency of cleaning, disinfect as a preventative measure and ensure full disinfection of any aircraft which has carried a passenger who was suspected or confirmed as being infected with COVID-19. Airport operators should similarly disinfect terminals regularly.

Because of how air circulates and is filtered (HEPA) on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Source: ECDC & CDC
TRAVEL | What travel restriction are applicable for the USA?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:59+00:00

Very helpful and complete information about travel to/in and within the USA can be found on the website of the CDC via this link including advices on what to do or not do when travelling.

The US Department of State gives some general information here for the whole USA and here you will find most of the FAQ about travel in/to and within the USA.

For travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in Europe, Canada or the rest of the world, see our specific FAQ about EuropeCanada or the rest of the world

TRAVEL | What Travel restrictions are in place for Canada?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:45+00:00

Travel advice from the Government of Canada can be found here and more specifically for the pandemic COVID-19 travel health notice, which can be found here.

They also have a similar page as the United Kingdom (UK) about travel to the rest of the world.

For specific travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in the USA, the rest of the world or the Europe, see our specific FAQ about the USA, the rest of the world or Europe

TRAVEL | What Travel restrictions are in place for the rest of the World?Admin2020-04-23T16:02:52+00:00

Difficult to give all the answers here but some links to useful sites.

  • Travel advice from the United Kingdom (UK) government for specific countries also showing relevant information about COVID-19 can be found here
  • Travel recommendations by Country from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) can be found here.
  • World travel restrictions and advice on a country by country base given by the Canadian Government can be found here.

For specific travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in the USA, Canada or the Europe, see our specific FAQ about the USACanada or Europe

TRAVEL | What travel restrictions are in place in Europe?Admin2020-04-23T16:03:06+00:00

Some information and links to specific countries on travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus from/to and within Europe can be found on the website of the European Commission.

If you want to check what specific restrictions are in place in specific countries of the EU then click here. You can then select a mode of transportation and a specific category, BUT to view ALL restrictions for the specific country just click on the country without using any of the filters mentioned above.

For travel restrictions due to COVID-19 in the USA, Canada or the rest of the world, see our specific FAQ about the USACanada or the rest of the world.

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