Following the outbreak of a new strain of coronavirus (Covid-19), the UK Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) continues to advise against all travel to Hubei Province and now advise against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. As the Coronavirus continues to spread across parts of Asia, British Airways has temporarily suspended all flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai.

On the 26th February, due to a dramatic increase in the number of confirmed cases in Italy, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised all but essential travel to 10 small towns in Lombardy, and 1 in Veneto which includes;

 

  • Codogno
  • Castiglione d’Adda
  • Veneto (Vo’ Euganeo)
  • Casalpusterlengo
  • Castelgerundo and San Fiorano
  • Fombio
  • Maleo
  • Somaglia
  • Bertonico
  • Terranova dei Passerini

 

The Italian authorities have isolated those towns due to an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

As of today there are now 13 confirmed cases within the UK as of the 25th February 2020. The Chief medical officer for the UK (Prof Chris Whitty)  stated on 31st January 2020, that:

“The NHS is extremely well-prepared and used to managing infections and we are already working rapidly to identify any contacts the patients had, to prevent further spread.

“We have been preparing for UK cases of novel coronavirus and we have robust infection control measures in place to respond immediately.”

Is it okay to travel?

All travellers should monitor the latest travel advice from the FCO for information regarding specific destinations.

If your plans have been affected by locally imposed travel restrictions or your cruise ship or accommodation being unavailable due to quarantine, then in the first instance you should contact your tour operator or travel agent who can advise you of your options.

Can I cancel, I no longer want to travel?

If your destination is not to mainland China or Hubei Province and you are still concerned about the risk to your health, your travel insurer does not cover for disinclination to travel. Unless the FCO advises against travel to your intended destination there is no cover for cancelling or cutting short your trip.

What do I do if I am a returning traveller?

UK Chief Medical Officers, based on the advice of Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), are advising anyone who is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath and has travelled to the UK in the last 14 days from the following destinations;

  • Mainland China
  • Thailand
  • Japan
  • Republic of Korea
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • Macau

Stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.

If you have developed symptoms and returned from these areas (listed below) since February 19th,  stay indoors at home and avoid contact with other people immediately call NHS 111. You do not need to follow this advice if you have no symptoms.

  • Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini),
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar

If you’re still in the UK and you haven’t travelled yet, the following rules apply:

Where you can, you should try to get a full refund from your tour operator or travel agent. We’ll only consider non-refundable expenses on your travel insurance policy. If you want to rearrange your trip dates, and provided you’re not making a claim, we can transfer your policy to cover the new trip as long as it’s within three months of your original departure date, is for the same or no longer duration, and is to the same geographical area.

Important things to bear in mind:

You’ll need to check your policy terms and conditions to see exactly what cover your policy provides and how much you can claim for, as different policies vary. We can only cover you for the scenarios above if you bought your policy and booked your trip before the FCO’s advice changed to ‘all but essential travel’.

If your trip does not involve travel to mainland China or Hubei Province but you are concerned about the risk of going on your trip, please be aware that our travel insurance policies do not provide cover for disinclination to travel. So whilst we sympathise that you may no longer want to travel on your trip, unless the FCO advises against travel to your intended destination there is no cover for cancelling or cutting short your trip.

If you’re stuck overseas and you’re unable to return to the UK, your existing policy will automatically extend in line with the terms and conditions for up to 30 days to cover you until you’re reasonably able to return home.