Lufthansa is no longer allowing half its fleet to take off, Germans are stealing disinfectant and bunkering down with noodles and toilet paper at home. The exceptional situation seems to have never been so close as it is today. We are not in Germany at the moment, but in Taiwan. What the coronavirus means for us travelers, what we pay attention to when traveling in times of coronavirus and what problems are associated with the outbreak for us, we would like to answer you below.
However, since there is always confusion regarding the coronavirus, we will first start with the basics.
What is this coronavirus anyway?
The corona virus as such does not actually exist, because. the term corona virus refers to an entire family of viruses. Some of these viruses can trigger just a cold in humans. Some representatives of the family are however far less harmless and can lead to serious diseases. The two best-known representatives of the Corona virus family and at the same time their most feared are the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. (SARS-CoV).
Corona viruses are zoonotic diseases, meaning they were originally transmitted from animals to humans. SARS-CoV originally came from creeping cats. MERS-Co passed from dromedaries to humans.
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The current coronavirus is named 2019-nCoV. What is known is that it first spread to humans in the Wuhan region of China. From which animal host it originated, however, is unclear.
The 2019-nCoV triggers a respiratory illness in humans that, in many affected individuals, progresses like a common cold or flu. flu. However, it can also present as a respiratory infection with fever, strong cough and shortness of breath. In drastic cases, there is even the threat of pneumonia, kidney failure or death.
No wonder, then, that many people are now getting scared. How little panic helps, though, and how much common sense, our current location in Taiwan shows very well.
Why is Taiwan handling the pandemic better and what can Germany learn from it learn?
Taiwan was hit massively by another corona virus in 2003 -. the SARS. The country learned from that.
Accordingly, Taiwan was one of the first countries to respond to the novel virus. Immediately after the virus became known. travelers with cold symptoms who had entered China in the past 14 days from affected Regions in China had entered under quarantine. In addition, an entry ban was a travel ban has been imposed on the region. Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea and Italy have also been and Italy have also been added to the list of countries with an entry ban. Those who were in the month before entering Taiwan will not be allowed to enter the country. country. At the airport, everyone’s temperature is also taken and a contact phone number is recorded.
Public life takes place largely as usual. However, on buses or trains and other places where people get too close, people wear face masks. At the entrance of every shopping mall and other public buildings there are heat sensors or body temperature is measured by infrared thermometer. Anyone who has a fever is no longer allowed to take part in public life, but must cure themselves at home. A simple but effective measure to prevent the spread of disease. Furthermore, at every cash register, in every restaurant and at almost every entrance, there are vending machines with disinfectant for the hands – of course with motion sensor, so that you do not have to touch them.
And lo and behold, although these measures hardly restrict public life, case numbers are stagnating in Taiwan – a country that should actually be among the hardest hit, according to simulations.
more info on how Taiwan got a handle on the virus is available here.
What is the biggest problem for us travelers?
You see, Germany is not necessarily the best place at all, to be in during this pandemic. However, also the Travel in these times more complicated. Admittedly, in South America or Africa the effects are still limited. But in Asia and Europe, travel has Travel has already become significantly more complicated.
The questions we need to ask ourselves as we currently plan for the next few months, given that there is currently no improvement in Lange in sight in sight, are the following.
Which countries have imposed an entry ban on travelers from which other countries?
We actually wanted to go to South Korea. We had to in the meantime, however, take from our ledge. The problem there is not only that there are many cases, but above all that one afterwards also in most countries may no longer enter . So we would initially be in unforeseeable time in South Korea stuck.
You can find a good overview of who currently has entry restrictions here. However, we are double checking all the information again with the sources mentioned below. After all, there really is a lot of change.
In which countries does quarantine become necessary?
Many countries now also require travelers to undergo a mandatory Quarantine of 14 days to keep. Hotels and Airbnbs, however, are reluctant to however only reluctantly to the disposal – because a single Corona case, can quickly paralyze the entire operation and require extensive disinfection make.
We currently have our eyes on more than just countries in foreign countries. Currently, we are also concerned that possibly our visit to Germany in a few months could be associated with a quarantine.
In what regions are case rates so high that it would be it makes sense to stop traveling there?
You don’t want to get sick, that much is certain. At the same time one does not want to contribute however also even to the fact that this illness still further spreads. As a tourist one is mobile and thus also always a possible Means of transport for germs.
A look at case numbers on the ground and the Warnings of the Foreign Office will help here. Often, however, the most concrete indication is that flights to the region are cancelled.
In which countries is the health care system good enough to cope even with a large-scale outbreak of coronavirus still provide care?
What happens during an outbreak? In fact, one of the greatest dangers for the general public is not dying from the coronavirus itself dying – the rate is less than 3% and young healthy travelers don’t really fall really fall into the “old and with previous illness” risk group. However, high high case numbers can quickly lead to medical staff absences and emergency rooms and hospitals become overcrowded and overwhelmed. Suppose one kneels on the stairs and breaks the leg, then it can last hours, until one afterwards one gets afterwards a physician to face, let alone examined or is treated.
How can you sensibly protect yourself on the road?
Also on the way the same applies what the WHO and the RKI advise in principle: Do not touch the face and regularly wash the hands. If hand washing is not possible, hands can be cleaned with a at least conditionally virucidal hand disinfectant. Of course, these measures are especially important where there are many people, such as train stations, shopping malls, airports, and public transportation.
Face masks help only conditionally against a infection. However, they can prevent you from accidentally grabbing your face with dirty Hands in the face. They also prevent you from accidentally infecting accidentally infecting others when you eat, as they catch the droplets.
In Taiwan, it is even expected that you wear a Mouthguard to wear if you have a cold yourself. Also, in general, you should everywhere at the moment not to cough or sneeze in the presence of other people. With it one does not make oneself namely very popular.
And if you get a fever and other symptoms, it’s best not to just go to a doctor’s office, but call them in advance. Says you are frequent travelers, so that contact with patients can not be ruled out. In many countries a doctor will then come to your accommodation. So you prevent that you infect other people in case of doubt.
Where can I get up-to-date information on coronavirus?
When it comes to proper behavior and current spread, then the most reliable sources of information are the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
We generally view information from other sources skeptically. At the moment, there is simply too much money to be made from the panic surrounding the Virus earn. Therefore much Clickbaiting is operated and partially are even deliberately spread false information.
When it comes to travel restrictions, however, it becomes significantly more complicated. On the page of the foreign office you can find mostly the current information. Since these change however partially daily change, it can be that one does not meet yet the current conditions. Even the official sides of the foreign missions of the individual countries are partly not perfectly maintained. Really finally one knows in case of doubt only at the airport, whether one can enter a country. That is of course stupid.
We are therefore monitoring the situation a bit more broadly. If more cases suddenly occur in country, for example, suddenly more cases occur, it may be that it will soon be soon end up on the blacklist with other countries.
How does travel work in times of coronavirus
We are finding the coronavirus extremely troublesome at the moment. Therefore we are staying in Taiwan for now and monitoring the situation. The potential Infection is the least of our problems. The travel restrictions are much more already much more circumstances.
Of course, it makes perfect sense to limit the spread of the virus. We’re in good spirits to ride it out somehow. We don’t have toilet paper, pasta, or disinfectant stashed away, by the way.