Chaos, inconsistency Marks the launch of the Drive-thru Virus – NBC Los Angeles test

Drive-thru sites have been opened in the United States to make testing the new coronavirus faster and safer. But just like the rest of the United States’ response to the pandemic, the system has been characterized by inconsistencies, delays and shortcomings. Many people who have symptoms and a doctor’s order have waited hours or days for a test.

More than a week after President Donald Trump promised that states and retail stores such as Walmart and CVS would open drive-through test centers, few sites are active and are not yet open to the public. Some states are leaving the test sector open to the private sector; others are coordinating efforts through state health departments.

Patients complained that they had to jump through bulky red tape and wait for days to get tested, then wait even longer for a result. The test centers were opened in some places to be closed shortly afterwards due to the shortage of supplies and staff. And while the drive-through test centers that have been opened are generally sorted, in some there have been long lines.

The slow increase in COVID-19 tests and the unpredictable nature of the system make it difficult for public health officials to track the spread of the disease and bring it under control.

“We need to do more extensive testing to fully understand the scale of the public health situation we are facing,” said Joseph Wendelken, a spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Dr Brett Giroir, the federal health officer in charge of overseeing the tests, said on Saturday at a White House briefing that approximately 195,000 people have so far been tested in the United States. This figure does not include some people who have been tested in private laboratories.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia. The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness can take anywhere from three weeks to six weeks to recover.

Drive-through test sites have sprung up in places in over 30 states: in state parks and parking lots, near medical centers and universities, the Mississippi state fairgrounds, and near where the Jacksonville Jaguars play. The governor of Maryland last week ordered the stopping of vehicle emission inspection programs across the state, so that the offices could be used as drive-thru centers to test the virus.

But as of Friday, there were no open drive-through tests available in Maryland inspection centers.

The Utah health department said it is not responsible for the sites and is not monitoring them. The North Carolina health director said the state is leaving the tests to the private sector and declined to say how many sites there are. In contrast, in Rhode Island, health organizations manage the sites in collaboration with the state health department.

On Thursday, cars lined up for more than a mile outside a hospital in Houston when the first drive-through test site was opened. U.S. representative Sheila Jackson Lee said she administered fewer than 200 tests in the first six hours.

Elsewhere, at various sites visited by Associated Press reporters, the scenes were well controlled and sometimes quite silent.

Dozens of people waiting by car in a downtown Homestead, Florida on Wednesday waited for their turn to speak with a screener who was wearing a suit and mask and carrying notes. Some were apparently removed. Others were stirred, checked their temperatures, and swabbed for the samples.

But the shortage of supply has stopped the thrusters in several states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, North Carolina and Utah. A Las Vegas site was shut down because it didn’t have enough workers.

New York state opened several centers with great fanfare on Tuesday. By Friday, however, the New York City health department issued a warning saying that only people requesting hospitalization should be tested, due to a shortage of protective equipment such as face masks. Drive-thru sites in New York State remain open, but only to people who meet certain criteria.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak said he had asked the federal government for additional test kits and supplies, but the state received a warning Thursday that all of its requests for drive-through test pods and test kits “are undefined arrears, without any estimate of a timeline for delivery. “

“This is our unfortunate Nevada reality. It depends on us, “he said.

The sites themselves are dotted with tents and traffic cones. The most important features are medical personnel who wear masks, gloves and protective vests or other clothing. They take nose and throat swabs from people sitting in their cars or help people get in for the test.

Some states have only one drive-thru site. Montana’s only site is in Billings, the largest city in the state. Others have a dozen.

Security guards have been reported on many sites, but an AP survey of states did not reveal any security concerns. In Rhode Island, the National Guard was on hand to set up the state’s three drive-thru sites and even to buffer patients.

The vast network of drive-thru sites in retail chains that Trump claimed was coming over a week ago has not materialized yet. CVS has opened a site in Massachusetts that defines a “test model”. Walmart launched two sites on Sunday and Walgreens said it will launch one, all three in Illinois. Only healthcare professionals and first responders are allowed, and Walmart said that a maximum of 150 tests per day could be performed on its federal sites.

The patchwork of approaches has caused confusion for patients. Caroline Mauldin was sentenced to get tested by her doctor in Charleston, South Carolina on Tuesday after suffering from pain and chills for several days.

To make an appointment at a center in a medical center, she had to fill out a long online questionnaire and spent two days calling a number that went to voicemail and did not answer messages. He resorted to tweets in the hospital several times just to get things going.

Finally, on Thursday, he had an appointment for Monday. And she was told that the results would not return until after 4-5 days. The visit will cost you $ 25, he said. Complicating things, he doesn’t have a car and has to borrow it from a friend.

“Here we have a lot of older, low-income people who don’t have Internet access and who don’t have access to transportation. And since they’re the highest risk population, how are we testing for them?” She asked.

In urban areas such as New York and Philadelphia, some sites offer “walk-up” dating for people without cars.

At the Penn Medicine test site in West Philadelphia, two security agents were late on Thursday to make sure that people arriving by car or on foot had an appointment. For about 40 minutes that evening, the line of cars never grew to more than six or seven. But Patricia Sullivan, Penn Medicine’s quality manager, said every morning last week, 25-35 cars were lined up and six or seven standing patients were 6 feet apart on a porch waiting to be seen.

The 20 sites in Greater Philadelphia are testing around 1,000 people a day, but that hasn’t eliminated pent-up demand.

Rosanne Tanner’s 79-year-old mother has been suffering from fever and chest pain since returning from a visit to Tanner’s brother and wife, who had recently been on a cruise ship.

His doctor ordered a test on Tuesday, but when he tried to make an appointment at a drive-through site in a hospital outside of Philadelphia, he was told that “they are overloaded, they are bogged down,” Tanner said.

Medical staff told her that they are scheduling 15 minutes apart, so there are no bottlenecks on the test site.

Finally on Thursday his mother made sure of an appointment for the following Tuesday. Then, he will have to wait another five days for a result.

“The delay in these tests is putting people at risk,” said Tanner.

In Rhode Island, state officials said they are testing 100 to 200 people per day at all test sites, including three drive thrusters.

Governor Gina Raimondo said they want to perform 500 to 600 a day, but they don’t have the supplies they need.

“It is our top priority to reach a place where everyone who needs it can be tested and you will get results very quickly,” said Raimondo during a press conference held on Facebook Live on Friday on Friday. “So if you’re positive, we can quarantine you.”

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Associate press writers Michelle L. Price in Las Vegas, Lynne Sladky in Homestead, Florida, Claudia Lauer in Philadelphia, Chris Ehrmann in Hartford, Connecticut, Brady McCombs in Salt Lake City and Jonathan Drew in Raleigh, North Carolina and Anne D ‘Innocenzio and Mike Sisak in New York contributed to this report.

___

The Associated Press receives support for health and scientific coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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North Dakota Coronavirus News, March 22: Changing Transportation Services Health

Frequently asked questions about the coronavirus

What is coronavirus?

The coronavirus epidemic started in Wuhan, China in late 2019 and spread worldwide. The new virus causes a disease known as COVID-19. The virus is part of a larger coronavirus family, which can lead to diseases ranging from a mild common cold to more severe respiratory diseases such as SARS and MERS.

Who is at risk and what are the symptoms?

Public health experts say the new coronavirus is more contagious than seasonal flu. Most people who get sick have mild symptoms, but some get sick more severely. People who contract the virus can develop pneumonia and some have died. Older people or those who have primary medical problems are more at risk of becoming more seriously ill. Symptoms of the virus include cough, fever and shortness of breath.

What should I do if I develop symptoms?

The North Dakota Department of Health advises people to call their healthcare provider to inform them of recent travel or exhibits and to follow their directions. In the meantime, try to avoid contact with other people.

What can I do to prevent the spread of the virus?

The health department advises people to wash their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds. Sick people should stay home from work or school, both to protect themselves and others they would come in contact with. Avoid touching your face, covering a cough or sneezing with a tissue or elbow, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces and avoiding contact with people who are sick.

Where can I find more information?

People with questions related to coronavirus can call the state health department hotline at 866-207-2880. Those in need of medical advice should contact their healthcare provider.

The health department’s online coronavirus page: www.health.nd.gov/coronavirus

The coronavirus online page of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov

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Still traveling in the middle of the Coronavirus

Frequent flyers quickly became frequent hand washing machines. And despite everything, some are still cleaning their tray tables and still flying.

International travel bans are in effect and warnings against non-essential travel are in place. Companies have issued edicts to scrape travel and cancellations of almost all events and meetings have left few trips in progress. Airlines are grounding 75% of long-haul international flights; some US carriers are withdrawing 20%, even 50% of their domestic flights.

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Should I go to the gym? Should I go to a restaurant? Your guide to staying healthy during the coronavirus pandemic

There is no doubt that if you have been infected with the new coronavirus or if you have symptoms of the COVID-19 disease, you should not leave your home unless otherwise indicated. But if you have no symptoms or reasons to believe you have been exposed, you don’t have to shut yourself up at home.

In the United States and around the world, health authorities advise people to practice “social distancing” to contain the spread of the virus by staying about a meter away from each other, skipping large social gatherings and working from home (if possible). Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the ban on gatherings of over 500 people in New York state on Thursday.

These policies can help slow the spread of the virus by reducing person-to-person contact, but isolation for prolonged periods could trigger high levels of depression and anxiety.

While people are looking for ways to safely get out of their homes, here are some things to do and not to venture out in public, and precautions you can take to limit the risk of contracting COVID-19.

(Before proceeding, you may want to read some of the myths and facts of COVID-19. Also, if you need to self-isolate or self-quarantine, here are some helpful tips.)

Should you go to the gym or yoga class?

The gym is an escape from stress and anxiety for millions of people every day. But an emerging source of anxiety is setting foot in that same place.

Sweat alone cannot transmit COVID-19, Dr told the New York Times. David Thomas, professor of medicine and director of the infectious diseases division of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

What it can, however, are certain surfaces.

According to some estimates, coronavirus can live on metal, glass and plastic surfaces for up to nine days. And this could include free weights, treadmills and other sports equipment.

Fitness centers nationwide are stepping up cleaning efforts by disinfecting mats and equipment more frequently.

305 Fitness, a Zumba chain that presents a DJ during classes in New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, sent an email on March 3 encouraging customers to call their studies early if they don’t hear well, promising to be “extremely flexible in returning class credits and waiving late cancellation / no-show fees.”

The gym chain stopped using any equipment such as weights and mats during cardio classes, said Sam Karshenboym, chief operating officer at 305 Fitness. Cleaning staff are disinfecting changing rooms, door handles and other contact points more frequently.

“We also ask customers to exchange punch pumps and five highs with instructors before class for a kick in Charleston or a bump on the butt,” said the gym’s message to the customers.

305 Fitness has also halved the size of its classes. In New York City it has classes limited to around 15 people, said Karshenboym. “We have also introduced home cardio classes, so customers can still get a piece of 305 [even] if they can’t get to the studio. ”

That said, it might be a good idea to bring your gear to the classes that require it. It’s also worth calling ahead and asking which products your fitness center uses to disinfect surfaces. The Environmental Protection Agency has a list of over 300 cleaning products that it deems effective as coronavirus fighters.

It may also be safer to avoid tight classes or attend the gym during off-peak hours, as the virus spreads more easily among people who are within about 6 feet of each other, according to the U.S. Centers for disease control and prevention.

On Saturday, 305 Fitness informed customers via email that it would temporarily close all locations for two weeks. “The 305 leadership is giving up on salaries so we can better support our team of instructors, DJs and managers in this difficult time,” said an email. “Social distancing is an act of solidarity right now. If we take preventative measures in advance, we can get back on our feet faster. “

Should you go to the cinema?

In China, where the virus originated, the government ordered the closure of 70,000 cinemas in the nation. In Italy, where there were over 21,000 cases of coronavirus on Saturday afternoon, practically all companies have closed. The same happened in France, where there were over 3,600 cases on Saturday afternoon. Before cinemas closed in France, only 50% of capacity was allowed, according to CNBC.

Cinemas in the United States may temporarily close in the coming days, a source described as familiar with the issue reportedly reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the World Health Organization who studied COVID-19 for two weeks in China, found that the virus spread more easily to people living with someone who had COVID- 19 than through common dissemination. However, when common diffusion occurs, cinemas and public transportation are the primary places of transmission of viruses, he told STAT News.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a cinema chain where viewers can eat and drink during the show with 37 locations in the United States, told customers via email that it was “sanitizing seat armrests, cup holders and tables during cleaning of the theater before each show “. Staff are required to wear latex gloves when serving customers and cleaning facilities.

reported: The coronavirus isn’t frightening the movie crowd, while Pixar’s “Pixar” tops the box office

In California, public meetings are limited to 250 people. The Alamo theater in New Mission, California is the only location in the state that can hold more than 250 people. Alamo “has disabled seat sections” in that theater, Alamo’s CEO and founder, Tim League, said in a note to customers posted online.

“In addition, we are demanding that all parties leave an empty seat between their group and the other parties,” said League. “If you don’t have an empty seat, you can see a manager who can move you to one of the empty sections.”

The chain declined to comment further on additional precautions taken in handling food.

Should you take the subway?

People who travel by public transport are more at risk of contracting an acute respiratory infection than people who cycle, walk or drive their cars. This is according to a 2011 study published in the BMC Infectious Diseases, a peer-reviewed medical journal on infectious diseases.

The study found a significant connection between acquiring an acute respiratory infection and traveling by bus or train five days before the onset of symptoms.

Having said that, not all workers are able to work from home and many who will not be able to use public transport to go to work. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which serves 8 million customers a day in the greater New York City area, said employees disinfect trains, subways and buses twice a day.

“Good hygiene remains the best defense against COVID-19,” said Patrick Warren, MTA’s security officer. “The MTA has continued its disinfection efforts, ensuring that those common contact points in stations, trains and buses are disinfected. We also ask our customers to double their hygiene efforts, to stay at home in case of illness and to follow the messages we have in our stations. “

Mayor Bill de Blasio advised New Yorkers to plan “to have extra travel time on your daily journey”, adding that “if the train that stops is too full, move to another car or wait to catch the next one. If you can, go by bike or walk to go to work. “

Should you have a hairstyle or a face?

Hair and nail salons and barbers are all linked to high risks of various types of infections, according to research from the American College of Gastroenterology.

Even before COVID-19 started to spread, studies show an increased likelihood of contracting a fungal or skin infection from tools such as nail clippers, scissors and brushes that are not discarded after use.

In response to the pandemic, Sephora
LVMH,
+ 4.02%

he informed customers that he would stop all in-store beauty services, including skin care and makeup applications. Ulta Beauty Inc.
ULTA,
+ 4.29%

he has not suspended these services in all stores, but said he encourages customers to reschedule appointments, especially if they are not feeling well.

Both companies have declined to comment on any additional precautions they are taking right now.

A New York City-based barber shop, Otis & Finn, sent an email to customers informing them that they could cancel any appointment at any time. “According to our policy, barbers always wash their hands after each customer and we encourage our customers to feel free to also use the sinks and soaps in the common area of ​​the shop to wash their hands (in addition to the soaps made available in the bathroom), “says the email.

Shawn Dixon, owner of all three Otis & Finn locations, said: “We were really prepared for this [coronavirus] because we attach great value to the cleanliness of our shop at all times. “He added that” even to be a barber you need to pass health and safety tests on hygiene, which is useful because they already know how to clean properly “.

Shawn Dixon, owner of the Otis & Finn barber chain, with partner Kirk Riley, who is a barber at Otis & Finn.

Shawn Dixon

Dixon added that he has always encouraged barbers to avoid working when they are not feeling well.

“Some barber shops think that a dirty place is part of the culture, but it has never been this way for us,” said Dixon. He said he can recall receiving only two calls this week from customers asking for the cleaning measures that barbers are taking. Most customers “mainly ask if we are open”.

Is it safe to eat out in a restaurant?

Coronavirus is not a food-borne disease, said food safety expert Benjamin Chapman, a professor at North Carolina State University. This means that someone cannot transmit the coronavirus by touching the pizza crust.

“The risk is food settings,” said Chapman. “If someone was sick, walked into a store and coughed on the handles of self-service buffet utensils and then touched your face, you could get coronavirus.” Because of this risk, it is increasingly important to be aware of what is touched in these settings and be sure to wash your hands before eating.

Chapman said he’ll go to all the same restaurants he went to before the coronavirus novel that causes COVID-19 to start spreading in the United States, he is more careful about touching salt shakers and menus.

Amid the epidemic, some people are avoiding going to restaurants and restaurants that they normally visit and instead stock up on non-perishable foods such as oat milk and rely more on the Amazon
AMZN,
+ 6.46%

and other delivery services.

This hurts small businesses like Sushirrito, a sushi burrito chain with six locations in San Francisco. Although Peter Yen, founder and CEO of Sushirrito, started offering a 20% discount on delivery orders last week, he said business was so slow that it may have to temporarily close its stores.

Not to be missed:Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on small businesses launched in San Francisco and Silicon Valley

For the time being, all six Sushirrito stores remain open. His staff was offered a refresher course on maintaining sanitary conditions and added more hand sanitizer that customers can use.

“First, we had great success when all the big tech companies started asking employees to work from home, [and] then all the conferences were canceled, which reduced tourism, therefore eliminated a large source of sales, “Yen told MarketWatch.” My company relies on pedestrian traffic and catering for large offices, and since everything what has died we have decided to concentrate only on the deliveries “.

“Hungry and stuck in the house?” read the subject of a recent email sent by Sushirrito to customers. “We know that many of you work from home or curl up in the office, so we want to continue being there for you with our food delivery service. For the month of March, get a 20% discount on deliveries to make sure you are well fed! “

Peter Yen, founder and CEO of Sushirrito

Peter Yen

“Part of me feels like it’s a bit of an overreaction,” Yen said of the response to the outbreak. He would like, he said, that people would make a greater effort to support their local businesses.

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Europe criticizes the ban on travel to the United States; Airlines, tour operators are quick to respond

LONDON – Governments and airlines have rushed to react to the announcement of an almost total ban on travel to the United States for most Europeans, while global stock markets have collapsed again sharply.

The European Union criticized the decision, stating that it had been banned from the ban. President Trump announced the restrictions in the middle of the European night Wednesday, as part of a U.S. effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

“The…

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The analyst says that the demand trends of the Coronavirus airline are similar to those of the After 9/11 attacks

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What are airlines doing on coronavirus? A list of cancellation policies.

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Efforts to combat coronavirus are increasing worldwide

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases globally exceeded 105,000 on Sunday, when infections spread to new parts of the United States and Italy quarantined around 17 million people in an attempt to manage the epidemic.

Connecticut, Missouri, Washington, DC and Vermont announced their first weekend cases. The virus is now in over half of the U.S. states, with nearly 500 confirmed cases and a total of 21 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University as of Sunday afternoon.

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Do I have to cancel my flight? Will recirculated air on an airplane spread the coronavirus? Here’s what you need to know before traveling

Judi LiVigni was due to fly from New York to San Diego last week to visit his brother, who he usually sees only once a year. But on the day of his flight, he chose to cancel his trip due to concerns regarding the coronavirus epidemic. LiVigni, a 51-year-old dietician living on Long Island, had planned a short weekend vacation, but doubts swirled in her mind as new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on the west coast.

Before his flight, he headed to a pharmacy to collect hand sanitizer and disinfect the wipes for his trip. He decided to ask the pharmacist for advice on whether to travel or not. “He tells me that he canceled his next flight, that’s all I needed to hear,” said LiVigni. “I decided that I didn’t want to be tied to a seat for six hours next to a potentially infected human being.”

Not to be missed:Do you want to protect yourself from coronavirus? Start by washing your hands the right way

As of Friday, there are now over 100,000 confirmed cases of viruses worldwide. About 72% of people became more concerned about travel during the coronavirus epidemic, according to a survey conducted in late February by the Big 7 Travel travel website. The International Air Transport Association has estimated that the global airline industry could experience a loss of $ 113 billion due to coronavirus-related outages and cancellations.

What about all that air circulating on airplanes?

Traveling by plane does not necessarily increase the risk of contracting a communicable disease more than another type of mass transit, according to the World Health Organization, since ventilation systems on planes use filters to trap bacteria and viruses before the air is recirculated.

“The ventilation speeds provide a total air exchange of 20 to 30 times per hour. Most modern aircraft have recirculation systems, which recycle up to 50% of the cabin air. The recirculated air is generally passed through HEPA filters (high efficiency particle air), of the type used in hospital operating rooms and intensive care units, which trap dust particles, bacteria, fungi and viruses. “


Airplane air is usually recirculated through the type of filters used in ICUs.

“Transmission of infection can occur between passengers seated in the same area of ​​an aircraft, usually due to the infected person coughing or sneezing or to touch,” observed the WHO on its website. “This is no different than any other situation where people are close to each other, such as on a train or bus or in a theater.”

Travelers should still disinfect where they are sitting, wash their hands often, avoid touching their faces and try to stay away from people who cough or sneeze, regardless of where or how they travel. The AAA travel company also recommends that people traveling abroad bring all the necessary documentation including health insurance cards, hand sanitizer and additional doses of medicines.

Read more:Trump disputes WHO coronavirus mortality rate: “3.4% is actually a fake number. Now that’s just my suspicion”

Where are you traveling and how do you go?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised Americans to avoid any non-essential travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea due to the large number of cases in those countries. In addition, the CDC advised people traveling to Japan to take additional precautions to stay healthy.

The CDC also suggested to all travelers to reconsider any cruise travel to or within Asia as the epidemic continues. Despite these warnings about international travel, government officials have not provided any guidance that advises people to avoid travel nationwide.

Traveling to a country where the spread of the new coronavirus community exposes you to a high risk of contracting the virus. In addition, health officials in the United States may require people returning from those countries to undergo extensive health screening or self-quarantine for 14 days on their return, as was the case for people returning from parts of mainland China. , including the province of Hubei where the virus probably originated.

Another consideration: do you have a stop in another country as part of your travel itinerary? Other countries have instituted their own bans on people entering their borders due to the outbreak, which could complicate travel arrangements. (Alternatively, direct flight can cost more money.)


Do you have a stop in another country as part of your travel itinerary?

If you feel bad, obviously you shouldn’t travel. There is evidence of the spread of the community in many parts of the United States, which means that people are contracting the virus even if they have not knowingly come into contact with someone who has contracted the virus abroad. Anyone with potential coronavirus symptoms, such as fever, headache or cough, stays at home to avoid potentially spreading the virus, health officials say.

The mortality rate among those with coronavirus varies widely based on age and health. Currently, data related to coronavirus deaths suggest that people over the age of 70 are more likely to have severe symptoms and / or die of disease than young people. Mortality rates are also higher for those with pre-existing conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, hypertension and cancer.

“It was really difficult for a consumer to understand that it is a level 10 emergency and I should cancel all plans and stay here, or I don’t need to cancel my plans.” Italy is preparing for a decline in tourism due to the outbreak of COVID-19 there.

Getty Images

Not all travelers are canceling the trip. Some are rebooking for later dates or changing where they will go. Kelsey O’Brien, a 28-year-old social media manager and content creator in San Francisco, said that she and her husband have changed the place where they will go on their honeymoon.

The couple got married in late November and had decided to stop on their honeymoon so they could save more money and spend more time planning the trip after the wedding. They had settled for a trip to Italy because of the cheap airfares to Rome.


Consumers should not expect additional compensation for canceled trips

This week, the couple decided instead to go on vacation to Hawaii to avoid the potential complications that could result from an international trip, particularly in a country where there may be a greater outbreak of the virus.

Even with the change of position, O’Brien said he had concerns about how risky it is to travel right now. “It was really difficult for a consumer to understand that this is a level 10 emergency and I should cancel any plans and stay here, or I don’t need to cancel my plans,” said O’Brien. “I try to try from a place of compassion. My journey is not as important as someone else’s health. “

Will you be able to get a refund for your flight?

Many airlines, including United
UAL,
+ 0.98%

, Delta
FROM,
+ 1.95%

and JetBlue
JBLU,
+ 0.14%
,
have waived the fares generally associated with changing or canceling their flight due to the coronavirus epidemic. In general, consumers must have booked directly with the courier and not through a third party website such as Expedia
EXPE,
+ 0.37%

– take advantage of these policies.

However, consumers should not expect additional compensation for canceled trips or in cases where airlines cancel flights due to the epidemic. European law protects travelers on all flights outside the European Union and on flights to the EU on EU-based airlines, allowing them to receive up to $ 700 in compensation per person for flights that are canceled within 14 days after take-off or significantly delayed.

But the law includes a provision that exempts airlines from this requirement if the cancellation was beyond their control. “In the case of the coronavirus, since this is an extraordinary circumstance and the airlines are canceling to protect safety, travelers cannot ask for compensation, but they have the right to obtain a refund for their tickets,” said Christian Nielsen , legal director of AirHelp, an airline passenger defense organization.

See also: Would you like to work remotely to prevent the spread of coronavirus? It is a luxury granted mainly to white-collar workers

Will you be covered by travel insurance?

Although interested travelers may be tempted to purchase a travel insurance policy due to coronavirus right now, this coverage is unlikely to help them if their trip is canceled. “Once an event becomes common knowledge, it is also excluded from travel insurance policies,” according to the Squaremouth travel insurance comparison website. “That’s because insurance companies believe it has a predictable impact on travel.”

Travelers can purchase “cancellation for any reason” travel insurance policies, which would still provide coverage in these circumstances. But these policies must be purchased within 21 days of the first booking and generally cost 40% more than the typical insurance policy, added Squaremouth.

Before embarking on this step, travelers should check with their airline, hotel or tour operator to find out if these airlines have offered refunds or cancellation fees. If you can cancel your reservation for free for a full refund, travel insurance may not be worth the expense.

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The coronavirus epidemic empties airports around the world

You don’t see things. There are fewer people at airports around the world as the new coronavirus disease spreads to all cities. In some of the areas most affected by the virus such as China, South Korea and Italy, travel is limited and it is certainly evident.

For the airline industry, this is a blow. Carriers such as United, Delta and Alaska are changing their cancellation policies to allow free flight changes for the next year. The International Air Transport Association suffers losses anywhere from $ 63 to $ 113 billion, depending on the spread of respiratory disease.

San Francisco International Airport public information office Doug Yakel explained that the airline’s February numbers will not arrive until the end of March, but flight schedules have been drastically reduced. Flights to China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan from the SFO went from 204 scheduled for each week in March to 99 flights, marking a drop of over 50%.

So as travel continues (note travel restrictions for some countries), the regular hustle and bustle is temperate. Check out airports in the past few weeks of activities before the COVID-19 (official name of the coronavirus) epidemic. In some places, airports remain quite crowded, but travelers are masquerading and taking precautions.

Beijing Daxing International Airport

In October, traveling to the new Beijing airport was much more crowded.

In October, traveling to the new Beijing airport was much more crowded.

Image: Zhang Dagang / VCG via Getty Images

Hong Kong International Airport

Hong Kong International in more lively days.

Hong Kong International in more lively days.

Image: Gregor Fischer / Image Alliance via Getty Images

These days it is emptied.

These days it is emptied.

Image: Vernon Yuen / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Tianhe airport in Wuhan, China

In 2016, Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova arrived at Tianhan International Airport in Wuhan before the coronavirus spread from the city.

In 2016, Czech tennis player Petra Kvitova arrived at Tianhan International Airport in Wuhan before the coronavirus spread from the city.

Image: Visual China Group through Getty Images / Visual China Group through Getty Images

With travel bans in and out of Wuhan, Wuhan airport is deserted.

With travel bans in and out of Wuhan, Wuhan airport is deserted.

Image: LEO RAMIREZ / AFP via Getty Images

Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport

Hanoi airport during busy periods.

Hanoi airport during busy periods.

Image: Schöning / ullstein bild via Getty Images

The arrival hall of Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport is practically dried up.

The arrival hall of Hanoi Noi Bai International Airport is practically dried up.

Image: MLADEN ANTONOV / AFP via Getty Images

San Francisco International Airport

The SFO is still busy with a 2.5% reduction in total weekly flights due to coronavirus, but travelers are still wearing masks as a precaution.

The SFO is still busy with a 2.5% reduction in total weekly flights due to coronavirus, but travelers are still wearing masks as a precaution.

Image: Yichuan Cao / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Treviso airport near Venice, Italy

The coronavirus epidemic has hit Italy hard with over 3,000 cases and over 100 deaths. Here is an empty Treviso airport, near Venice, where travelers wear masks.

The coronavirus epidemic has hit Italy hard with over 3,000 cases and over 100 deaths. Here is an empty Treviso airport, near Venice, where travelers wear masks.

Image: Jacopo Landi / NurPhoto via Getty Images

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