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COVID-19 Advice for travellers

27 March 2020 by News Desk

COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve. Where travel is essential, travellers should follow sensible guidance to prepare for their trip and reduce risk of exposure to COVID-19 while this outbreak is ongoing:

Be aware of, and keep up to date with the latest official advice offered by the country you are departing from or travelling to during this COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has led to unprecedented international border closures and other restrictions. All countries may restrict travel without notice.
If you are travelling from the UK, check the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) foreign travel advice; (see the summary, health and entry requirements sections).

COVID-19 Advice for travellers

Check the impact this outbreak may have on your travel insurance coverage, including medical repatriation costs in case of ill health or any new restrictions on travel. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) has produced information on travel insurance implications following the outbreak.

Contact your airline, tour operator, cruise line or other transport and accommodation providers for up-to date information on your itinerary and travel plans.

Be aware that there may be enhanced screening/monitoring at entry and exit ports. In some countries borders may close or you may be required to self-isolate for a set period, even if you do not have symptoms.

Check up to date travel health recommendations and if you require further advice, speak to your GP, practice nurse, pharmacist or travel clinic.

If you are elderly or have pre-existing health issues, you should be aware that if you are infected with COVID-19 you could be at increased risk of severe infection.

Should you decide to use a facemask (or it is a requirement at your destination), you should ensure you continue to use all the recommended precautions in order to minimise the risk of transmission.

If you are unwell with either a high temperature or new continuous cough, and you live alone, you should self-isolate.

Preventing the spread of respiratory viruses:

Wash your hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash hands with soap and water.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
If you are fit and well, with no symptoms, there is no evidence that wearing facemasks as a general prevention measure is helpful. Public Health England advises against using masks outside clinical settings. If you decide to use a mask, remember to you should still follow all the recommended precautions above to minimise risk of transmission.

If you have contact with a COVID-19 case while abroad

If you have been in contact with a known COVID-19 case, follow local public health advice (if available), and speak to your healthcare provider or travel insurance company as soon as possible for further guidance.

if you become unwell abroad

If you develop symptoms of new continuous cough or fever or high temperature while abroad or during travel, you should immediately:

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people, as you would with the flu.
Call your health provider and/or insurance company to discuss what you should do.
Follow local public health guidance if available.
If you become unwell at an airport, bus or train station before or during a long trip, seek medical attention and do not start or continue your journey.
Once you have fully recovered, check with your health provider if you are fit to travel, before any onward travel.

After travel

Returned travellers who are unwell with either a high temperature or new continuous cough, and who live alone, should self-isolate for 7 days; if they live with others, the whole household should isolate for 14 days. See the Public Health England stay at home guidance.
If you are in the UK, you do not need to contact NHS111 if you are self-isolating unless your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days.
If you have internet access contact NHS 111 online, and if not call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
If you are abroad, you should check where to get help locally, and contact your travel insurance provider.

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