The past few days have been a challenging and testing time for everyone across the world as we have been hit by the COVID-19 in the most unexpected ways possible. On the whole, a total of 183,129 people have been infected while 7,175 people have died due to the Corona Virus (Statistics as of March 17, 2020). The WHO (World Health Organization) on a global scale and the Indian government on the country scale are doing everything from their end to contain this outbreak.
The COVID-19 or the SARS-CoV-2 is the name given to the Corona Virus disease is an infectious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome Corona Virus. Coronavirus is the term used for a large range of illnesses like the common cold and respiratory problems. We now call it the “novel Corona Virus” where the novel implies that it is a new form of the virus. The Symptoms of this disease include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle pain and sore throat. While the majority of the infected cases are mild, severe infection can lead to pneumonia and multi-organ failure. The fatality rate is 3.4% but it varies with the factors of age and already persisting health conditions.
The infection is mainly spread via the respiratory droplets that are emitted out when one coughs or sneezes. Being within a 6 feet distance, one can be contaminated by the virus from an already infected person. It takes 2-14 days for the symptoms to show from the day of being infected. It is more likely to get severe for adults above the age of 70. Only about 20% of the people who have been infected need to be hospitalized while the remaining 80% just need to be isolated and give themselves time to recover.
The corona virus is believed to have originated in Wuhan, China; at a market that sold dead and live animals. It is believed that it was an animal to human transmission of the virus. Although the animal source of the latest outbreak is yet to be confirmed, it’s the original host is considered to be bats as it is similar to a few viruses found in bats. The bats further have infected other animals which in turn have infected the humans. Bats are a host to a wide range of zoonotic viruses including Ebola, HIV, and rabies. We started seeing the effect of corona virus on people in China around December 2019 and from then it has been a community spread or transition which has led to the disease infecting people all over the world.
In light of all the events happening, we would like to answer all your queries related to travel.
Can one travel in India?
As we have seen, many countries have restricted the entry of foreigners as it is easier to catch the virus at the Airports due to the large ethnicity of people present there. As per the latest Travel Advisory, any cross-country movement will be restricted till March 31, 2020.
India has further prohibited the entry of any person from the European Union (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden), European free trade association (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland), United Kingdom and Turkey. The people returning from UAE, Omar, Qatar, and Kuwait will be compulsorily quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days. All the non- essential Visas have been canceled.
However, there hasn’t been any travel ban or restrictions for domestic travel. It would still be better to steer clear of airports for a while. If it’s a necessity to travel by flight, then follow the instructions to keep yourself safe. If you are traveling in a public mode of transport, then make sure your surroundings are clean, you wear a mask and cleanse your hands with sanitizers frequently. Take this chance to ditch the mainstream touristy spots and travel to the lesser-known places exploring them.
Traveling with Plan The Unplanned:
Our trips are mostly to places that are less explored and involve treks. The treks are safe as there will be minimal contact with other humans apart from the co-travelers. Since we won’t be using any public transport, you can rule out the fear of getting in contact with the virus while traveling. However, whenever we stop for lunch or snacks on the way make sure you take precautions and not eat in any place which might not seem hygienic. Our night stays will either be at a tent or a homestay which will have clean surroundings. Make sure you keep yourself clean, do not litter around and urge your co-travelers to do the same.
We have not yet canceled any of our trips but depending on the need of the hour, we might decide to do so. We request you to follow the precautionary guidelines mentioned below. If you are feeling sick before the trip, we request you to cancel the trip and take rest at home. In case you start feeling sick while on the trip, please let our trek leads know at that instance so that we can help you.
Precautions to be taken :
1) Wear a mask while traveling.
2) Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after eating, after you sneeze, cough or blow your nose.
3) If you do not have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
4) Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
5) Do not travel or go outside if you are sick.
6) Maintain distance from anyone who seems to be sick or is coughing and sneezing.
7) Make sure you cover your nose and mouth while sneezing using a disposable tissue and dispose it immediately.
8) Be careful about the food choices you make and the restaurants you eat at.
9) On the trek, carry your own utensils, water bottles, towels, and toiletries.
Booking of treks in advance or cancellations:
We are still accepting all the bookings and we look forward to having you onboard with us. Let the wanderlust never die!
The Central Government, the state and the local bodies are doing their best to contain the disease so that it doesn’t spread further. Given the commendable ways in how the Kerala government contained the Nipah Virus situation, we are hoping that this too will be brought under control soon.
In the unfortunate event of this outbreak not being contained and matters getting worse, we shall cancel the trips and a full refund will be issued back to you.
From the entire Plan the Unplanned community, we wish everyone who has been infected with COVID-19 a speedy recovery and our hearts go out to those who have succumbed to the Corona Virus.