What do we know about it?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. The most recently discovered coronavirus is SARS-CoV-2 that causes an illness known as COVID-19.
This new version of the coronavirus was first documented in China in December 2019.
What should we do to protect ourselves against it?
- Clean your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
Why? These substances kill viruses & bacteria, thus limiting the potential spread of this and any other harmful bacteria & viruses on your hands.
- Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
Why? The virus is thought to spread from person to person by droplets. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as colds, flus and this latest version of coronavirus.
What are the consequences for the travel industry?
The outbreak of this new version of coronavirus has interrupted the free mobility of people, especially when coming from areas that are particularly affected by the virus. Because of this, many travel restrictions have been put in place to limit the spread of the virus. This has meant that many tourism-related companies have seen many of their bookings cancelled, as well as few bookings coming in for the future. The economic impact has been quite significant already, with industries in various sectors being affected by the drop in consumer spending & travel, staff shortages, and quarantines & travel restrictions being imposed by various governments. On an individual level, there has also been general concern about shortages of food and essential hygiene products.
What should coach operators do to minimise the risk of COVID-19?
Amid the fear and confusion, it is important to remember that some simple steps can dramatically decrease the risk of catching the new version of the coronavirus. Coach operators must be careful to clean and disinfect coaches between jobs, something that should be done regularly in any case. They should also make sure their drivers and employees respect the recommendations listed above to limit the risk of spread of this and any other viruses. They should also help to disseminate accurate information to their customers from reputable, expert sources such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) rather than mass media.
The travel and tourism industry has experienced very difficult periods in the past and has always managed to pull through. The coming months will be challenging but we at Anderson Travel are prepared to take the necessary measures to take on this challenge and come out of it stronger than before.