COVID-19 Update

Updated on 13 March 2020



The Situation:

As of Friday, 13 March, there are over 134,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. These numbers include 4,973 deaths and 69,642 recoveries. A total of 120 countries are reporting confirmed as numbers of cases and deaths continue to change rapidly. As of this report, there are 63,162 active cases with 57,376 listed as serious or critical (9%).


This week saw many changes in regard to travel restrictions made across the global as further efforts are being put into place to stem the spread of Covid-19. Belgium and France closed schools Friday. High-level officials in multiple countries reported positive cases or contact with positive cases recently. Spain implemented lockdown measures on four cities. The U.S. saw cancellations and closures affecting schools and businesses, Disney resorts, Broadway and even professional sports leagues postponed their seasons.


On Wednesday, March 11:

  • The Department of State issued a Global Health Advisory Level 3 – Reconsider Travel.

  • Presidential Proclamation calls for travel ban on European travel to the U.S. affecting the 26 countries comprising the Schengen Areas.

  • CDC issues:

  • Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel—Widespread Sustained Transmission for Europe

  • Global Alert - Level 2 – Sustained Community-Level Transmission


Italy

Italy locks down entire country beginning of this week as cases numbers inundate healthcare system. Numbers of infected have reached over 15,000 with 1,016 deaths reported.


South Korea

South Korea continues to see number of new cases reported slowing, for now, as more than 235,000 people have been tested. Daegu and Cheongdo are “special care zones”

  • Majority of South Korea’s cases are in Daegu and centered around members of the same church

  • City of Gyeongsan (just east of Daegu) declared third “special care zone” Thursday with 282 total cases, the majority of which are linked to the church in Daegu.


Iran

Iran is seeing the world’s third worst outbreak outside of mainland China and the major concern is that the true scope of the outbreak is unknown there. A recent study projected that the actually case number could actually be over 18,000. Currently the number of confirmed cases stands at over 10,000 with 429 deaths.


Spain

Catalan authorities lockdown four cities in the regions - Igualada, Vilanova del Cami, Santa Margarida de Montbui and Odena – after a significant outbreak in the area affecting almost 70,000 people. Schools and universities across the country to be closed for at least two weeks. Currently the number of confirmed cases stands at 3,864 with 90 deaths.




Other significant factors for consideration:

  • Experts estimated the actual number of cases could be much higher than what is being officially recorded and reported. If that is true, the mortality rate could be much lower.

  • Men were also disproportionately affected during MERS and SARS outbreaks.

  • Women, in general, have a stronger immune response than men.

  • China accounts for nearly a third of the world’s smokers with more than half of the men smoking compared to just over 2% of China’s women smoking.


Travel Effects:

  • Many countries have urged citizens to reconsider travel or avoid nonessential travel to China and avoid all travel to Hubei.

  • Airlines around the world suspended services to all or some of China

  • Several countries banned foreigners who recently traveled to China and/or are Chinese passport holders and increased health screening measure at ports of entry

  • Chinese nationals restricted from booking international flights out of the country

  • Specialized quarantines based on needs per country.

  • Department of State – Global Health Advisory Level 3 – Reconsider Travel

  • The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.

  • Travel Ban on Europe – to take affect Friday, March 13 at midnight, no travel from Schengen Area countries.

  • From DHS: These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation. LINK


Current CDC Travel Alerts for Covid-19:

Level 3 – Avoid all nonessential travel


Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions


Level 1 – Practice usual precautions


Other Destinations with Apparent Community Spread:

  • Community spread means people have been infected with the virus, including some who are not sure how or where they became infected. At this time, the extent of virus spread is not sustained or widespread enough to meet the criteria for a travel notice.

  • Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand


Symptoms to Watch Out For:

Officials say the respiratory disease, is capable of spreading through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing, and germs left on inanimate objects. The virus might spread during the incubation period – which is believed to be from 1 to 14 days. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • High fever

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Cough (usually dry) and/or sore throat

  • Muscle Aches in some cases also being reported

  • Pneumonia (secondary infection)


Mitigating Measures to Apply:

  • Monitor local authorities for updates

  • Avoid travel to or through China (including layovers) and specifically through Wuhan and Hubei province

  • Avoid non-essential travel to areas where the infection is known or spreading rapidly

  • Travelers who return from infected areas should self-quarantine

  • Practice social distancing at the workplace and in public spaces

  • Consider work from home arrangements for employees in locations where the virus is spreading or if employees must transit through those areas

  • Employees who feel ill or who have flu-like, respiratory or other symptoms should consider self-quarantine and or stay at home instead of attending office or other functions

  • Weigh the risks of conducting large scale gatherings where the virus is located and the potential for attendees to transit through higher risk areas

  • Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available

  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at higher risk and should speak to their healthcare provider before travel

  • Avoid exposure to those presenting the above symptoms

  • Avoid populated areas and gatherings if you feel ill (if at all possible)

  • Allow extra time for temperature screening at airports worldwide

  • Enroll in a Safe Traveler Program to receive warnings from your preferred embassy

  • Seek medical care immediately if you experience symptoms and have recently traveled to the infected areas; notify your healthcare provider of your recent travel

  • Confirm travel schedule is not impacted by the coronavirus (including quarantines, which may be individually-imposed, visit/visa restrictions etc.)

  • Ensure the validity of all visas prior to travel as this could be subject to restrictions and changes


DISCLAIMER and Hold Harmless

Disclaimer: LSDS™ gathers information from multiple sources and offers insight and perspective to travelers. Sources cannot be validated for accuracy in every instance. Travelers assume all risk associated with their travel and are responsible for the decisions associated with travel and for their own safety. Users of this reference document agree, to hold harmless LSDS™ (LLC) its employees and clients associated with any risk or injury incurred during travel.

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