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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
Photo by Gregor Zajac, Poland; Crossing Rothang Pass; India 2011 tour, Royal Enfield 350ccm

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Gregor Zajac, Poland; Crossing Rothang Pass, India 2011 tour, Royal Enfield 350ccm.



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  #1  
Old 11 Feb 2020
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The novel Coronavirus & travel planning

Hello All:

I'd appreciate some advice and thoughts from the regulars here:

I was planning to travel to Sicily in mid-February, to to pick up my motorcycle that is in storage there, then take the ferry Palermo to Tunis and spend three weeks touring in Tunisia. I'm very familiar with North Africa, I spend a month in Morocco last year, and spent two years living and working in both Algeria and Libya during the 1990s.

I'm getting a little worried about possible problems that this coronavirus could create with international & intercontinental travel if there is any amount of spread of the virus in Europe or (God forbid) Africa.

I'm not particularly worried about getting the virus - that's not my concern. My concern is that if there is any spread of the virus in Europe or Africa, very large scale quarantines (travel restrictions, border closures) could be imposed. Hence I have put things on hold for the moment.

I would sure like to begin this trip around the first of March - but, what do you think the outlook is for this kind of travel with the current state of affairs pertaining to this virus?

All responses gratefully acknowledged.

Michael
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  #2  
Old 12 Feb 2020
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Unfortunately, at this point no one is certain how the virus spreads, how readily it will spread and how serious it may turn out to be.

One thing for sure: it has already caused a great many people problems in their efforts to travel and move freely. Travel restrictions, quarantines, and closed borders are already in existence and look to be increasing.

So, no conclusions, it is very early days for this virus.

Not too helpful, I know. You are wise to be cautious, I think, and to make alternate plans just in case.

...........shu
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  #3  
Old 12 Feb 2020
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I'm making plans to travel in March and again in late summer. I wouldn't go to China right now, but that's in part because my rather irrational, alarmist government says they'd quarantine me when I returned. I might be reluctant to head out on a cruise with stops in Japan right now, but then again I'm not a cruising kind've guy.

The real answer is that no one knows what's going to happen past, say, the end of this week. Best bet as far as I can tell is to make plans but stay flexible...and read the fine print on any travel insurance you buy. If I had a bike in Sicily like the OP, I'd go there and carry on with my trip, but I'd keep my ear to the ground and be ready to abort.

It's pretty clear that we're still at greater risk from influenza than we are from this new virus, and when was the last time you arranged your travel plans around flu season? Instead, you probably try not to let people sneeze on you. Only half of the US public gets vaccinated against influenza, while the rest basically just trust their dumb luck. This is a virus which kills between 12,000 and 61,000 annually in the United States (according to the CDC), and from 291,000 to 650,000 internationally. That's yearly, i.e., this year, last year, next year, and the year after that.

If the new coronavirus turns out to be as deadly as influenza, I'll be very surprised. On the other hand, I've been wrong before....

Mark
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  #4  
Old 12 Feb 2020
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Hi Mark:

Thanks for your thoughts. As I noted in the original post, I'm not particularly concerned about catching the virus - my concerns are more about travel restrictions that might arise as a result of new infections appearing in Europe or Africa.

I think I'll go ahead and book a flight, but make sure the ticket is one that permits refunds....

Michael
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  #5  
Old 12 Feb 2020
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Wouldn't standard holiday insurance cover that sort of thing? When the volcano in Iceland erupted and stopped large amounts of air travel the insurance paid out for people that were stuck away from home (some friends were in Egypt diving and the only accomodation easily available was the dive boat they were about to get off. So they went diving for another week.)
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  #6  
Old 12 Feb 2020
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I'm heading for Siberia, Magadan and the Stans this year. I think the question is a good one, but the answer nobody really knows. It's certainly not impossible that the virus escapes quarantine and forces many countries to take their own precautions, and in such a case, borders could close to leisure travellers. Like the OP I agree the risk of disruption is far higher than the risk from the virus itself - with an average mortality rate of 2% it's not the most dangerous thing out there (though it does seem quite contagious).

I'm tempted to call the Asian leg of my journey off for this year and instead spend some time bumbling round Scandinavia and Morocco, but TBH I've spent so much time planning this one that I'm very reluctant to cancel it. I'm not leaving until May so I'll make a decision then.
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  #7  
Old 14 Feb 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Benson View Post
Wouldn't standard holiday insurance cover that sort of thing?
Hi Jay:

I'm not concerned about any additional costs that might be incurred, I'm concerned about getting trapped in one country in the event this virus "gets out" in Europe or North Africa and everyone starts shutting down borders.

There are worse places to get stuck in than Tunisia, I suppose, but it would be a PITA to get stuck there for a couple of months due to imposition of a quarantine by Europe or (my home country) Canada.

Michael
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  #8  
Old 14 Feb 2020
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I don't want to criticize your attempts to be cautious and anticipate what might go wrong with your trip, but....

Following this line of thought, you'd end up not going anyplace at all. How likely is it, really, that you'll get "stuck there for a couple of months?" How likely that your home country will quarantine you at all, much less for longer than 2 weeks (as is being done now for people coming from China, based on the presumed latency period for the virus).

If determined, you can find reasons to stay at home; in fact, you could have found sufficient reasons to stay home a year ago, or a decade, or since the day you were born. These reasons are always present, and there are always people who stay home as a result...or travel only to places they deem safe. The question is, where are you going to draw the line?

More specificity than that is more or less impossible, since no one really knows, at least about this particular virus. Either go, or don't, and whatever you choose, try not to look back. Put another way, what are the likely consequences if you guess wrong about the situation in Tunisia in, say, a month? Either way, you'll come out of it ok, with or without a Tunisian vacation, with or without two weeks in quarantine on some godforsaken military base in, say, Goose Bay.

Or you'll stay home. If it were me, I'd be irritable as hell and probably lose a friend or two.
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Old 14 Feb 2020
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Following that line of thought, if one were to travel and then closed borders made overstaying a visa inevitable how would the authorities react?
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  #10  
Old 16 Feb 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomkat View Post
Following that line of thought, if one were to travel and then closed borders made overstaying a visa inevitable how would the authorities react?
I think under the circumstances there would not be a problem. I have overstayed visas a couple of times in the past (during my working career) due to events out of everyone's control such as extreme weather or the outbreak of war, and my experience has been that as long as you contact the appropriate authorities (police or immigration, depending on the country) ahead of time and let them know of the possible upcoming problem, they are pretty easy to deal with.

Michael
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  #11  
Old 16 Feb 2020
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This virus is very different to seasonal Flu

It’s appears to very easy to catch and unlike seasonal flu, nobody will have any immunity against it. This means that a much higher % of the population will catch it and in mid Feb it doesn’t look as if the attempts to restrict the spread of the Disease are going to succeed.

The Kill rate of the virus appears to be in the range of 1-2% , this is much higher than seasonal flu which tends to have a kill rate of .002%

Wherever you live in the world health systems will be overwhelmed.

I would be happy to be proved wrong, but I would be cautious.
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  #12  
Old 28 Feb 2020
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I'm considering cancelling my trip from Melbourne > London in April - October due to corona virus.

I planned to travel SE Asia > India > Pakistan > China >Stans > Iran > Turkey > Europe.

Given most of the borders are closed with China and Iran I won't make this through. The unpredictability of the virus and its high spread do not fill me with confidence it will end in the months I intend to travel.

I'm not concerned about catching the virus itself. I am concerned it will push back my itinerary. Especially if I travel through China. I can't afford to be quarantined for 14-days and hassled at the borders, getting stuck somewhere and not being able to visit the places I want.

Dylan

Current border closure reports:
https://caravanistan.com/forum/viewt...hp?f=9&t=12239
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  #13  
Old 28 Feb 2020
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I'm still sitting on the fence, trying to decide what to do - whether to go, or whether to stay in Canada.

I have an air ticket to fly Toronto - Rome - Catania (Sicily) next Tuesday. My plan is/was to pick up my moto from storage in Catania on Thursday, ride to Palermo, and get on a ferry to Tunisia Saturday.

I'm watching things day by day - but the outlook is getting worse all the time.

Michael
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  #14  
Old 1 Mar 2020
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From the "Overland in Iran" Facebook group:

Quote:
I tried to cross the Astata border today and got rejected. There was also a British couple who had been there all day. There were also three German guys trapped between the borders; they'd been allowed to leave Iran, but Azerbaijan wouldn't allow them to enter, so they became stuck

The border is now only open to citizens of Azerbaijan
I'm sure this is just the first of many such cases.
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  #15  
Old 1 Mar 2020
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Damn, I thought worse case would be getting stuck or quarantined in one country or another, I hadn't thought about the possibility of getting stuck between borders. Now that would truly suck!

As others have said, I'm not particularly worried about catching the bug itself, but am worried about borders being closed or getting quarantined for some extended period.

I'm planning to ride around the Black Sea, so if the Georgian-Turkish border or Turkish-Greek/Bulgarian borders were closed, I'd be kind of screwed.

I've already got a non-refundable ticket to Europe but if borders along my route are closed, or look about to close, just before I leave (in mid-May), I will probably cancel the trip.
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