The Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG) is urging travellers to reconsider all non-essential travel to China as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Warning to avoid non-essential travel to China in its entirety – an escalation from previous warnings, which advised against travel to the city of Wuhan and the Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. Meanwhile, the United States has issued an advisory to reconsider travel to China.
The virus has been confirmed in 21 countries to date: China, France, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Nepal, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the USA and Vietnam.
Various tourist attractions in China, such as parts of the Great Wall of China, Beijing’s Forbidden City palace complex and Shanghai Disneyland, amongst others, have been closed to visitors. Several countries have stopped flights into the country.
“Travel experts from The Flight Centre Travel Group (FCTG), including Flight Centre Business Travel, Corporate Traveller and FCM, are contacting all their customers due to travel to China over the coming weeks. We recommend that customers reconsider their travel plans and make use of the relevant airline’s re-accommodation policies,” says Kim Taylor, Customer Experience Director at the Flight Centre Travel Group.
“Some airlines are allowing clients to refund or make changes to their travel at no additional cost, such as Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways, Air Canada, Emirates and British Airways,” says Taylor. The Flight Centre Travel Group will continue to monitor and update as communication is received from airlines.
For travellers already in affected areas, FCTG strongly advises:
- Avoid all travel to Hubei province, as it is under lockdown by Chinese authorities.
- Practice advanced hygiene measures, including frequent hand washing and sanitising.
- Wear a face mask or respirator in public if travelling in Chinese cities with reported infections.
Strict health screening is being performed at various airports worldwide. All travellers should allow for sufficient travelling time in case of any delays at the airport.
Travellers are, as always, advised to adhere to the advice of local authorities, airport security personnel and health organisations.
We urge affected customers to contact their Flight Centre Travel Expert for details and assistance. We will continue to advise our customers on the situation as more details unfold.