Coronavirus Outbreak 2020: Countries Affected By Corona Virus & Everything You Need to Know
The world is currently fighting with the sudden Coronavirus epidemic. New cases of the disease are coming to light every day from different countries and it has impacted tourism as well as other socio-economic sectors. But, as it always happens in these scenarios, the gravity of the actual epidemic is hard to understand amidst all the myths and rumors. To avoid panic and confusion, you can read all the updated and necessary information about COVID-19 before planning any new trips.
What is the Coronavirus epidemic?
The on-going outbreak of Coronavirus disease, which originated from Wuhan in China and spread to many countries within the last 2 months, has slowed world tourism significantly. Officially named COVID-19 by the World Health Organization, it can cause pneumonia with flu-like Coronavirus symptoms like fever, fatigue, coughing, breathing difficulties, and sore throat. Even though several organizations are trying to develop vaccines or antiviral medicines, there are no vaccinations or antiviral drugs to treat and prevent Coronavirus infections.
How has Coronavirus affected travel?
In the wake of thousands of confirmed cases, many countries have started issuing warnings against travel to Wuhan, Hubei, or China overall. With new patients being reported every day, mainly Asian countries are struggling to contain the spread whereas the rest of the world has also started taking strict precautionary measures.
China itself has locked down several of its areas and cities. Museums throughout the country along with Shanghai Disneyland have temporarily closed their doors and many of the Chinese New Year Celebrations have been canceled. The government introduced a screening process at all the exit ports to stop the people who are exhibiting symptoms from leaving the country.
Which other countries have reported confirmed COVID-19 cases?
South Korea has declared a red alert, Italy has banned public events in many of its regions, and Bali is experiencing a sudden drop in hotel bookings. In amidst all this, if you are planning to travel or have planned a trip already, then you must be wondering about the current state of Coronavirus disease. So, this section will help you understand which countries have placed travel restrictions and how the world is dealing with the outbreak.
1. South Korea
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on 20th January 2020 and in around a month, that number climbed above 1,000. As South Korea reported the second-highest infection count, patients are being located in Daegu, Seoul, and Gyeongsang Province. Even though most of the country is operating normally, the government raised the Coronavirus warning level from border to severe. It has also urged people to avoid public gatherings and has asked to seek medical help if symptoms of Coronavirus are noticed.
Total reported cases - 7,755
Japan, a country that welcomes thousands of Chinese travelers annually, became the second country that reported coronavirus infection outside of China. It has already seen smaller outbreaks and has also warned of the rapid expansion of COVID-19. From the 1st week of February 2020, Japan stopped accepting anyone with a history of traveling to and from Hubei Province or has a Chinese passport officially issued from Hubei. The country has also asked visitors to fill out questionnaires to check if they have (or planning to) traveled to Hubei in the 14 days.
Total reported cases - 587
In less than 15 days from the first reported case of Coronavirus, Italy became the country with the third-highest infection count. As a precaution now, it has banned all direct flights to and from China. Most of the cases have emerged from the Lombardy and Veneto regions and that has resulted in the quarantine of over 50,000 people from 11 different Northern Italian municipalities. Train services in these areas are partially halted, schools are closed, public events are banned, and Venice Carnival has also been cut short.
Total reported cases - 10,149
4. Hong Kong
Hong Kong was facing unrest from the last several months over Pro-democracy protests. It has all vanished as Hong Kong started reporting Coronavirus cases in January 2020. As the panic rose in the citizens, products like face masks, disinfectants, bottled water, vegetables, and rice are mostly sold out. The government has temporarily closed down all kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools as well as special schools. It has also introduced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for everyone arriving from the mainland, regardless of their nationality.
Total reported cases - 121
Australia is said to be amongst economies worst affected by the Coronavirus epidemic. Even though it has less than 25 confirmed cases, the Australian dollar dropped to its lowest value since the 2010s. The reported cases originated from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia. The government has held health screenings at all the airports and ports and it may escalate to travel bans for travelers who have left or transited mainland China within the previous 14 days.
Total reported cases - 127
As different international cases of the COVID-19 were traced back to Singapore, many governments started advising against visiting this state-country. But Singapore is doing everything in its power to prevent the spread of the virus. It immediately shut its borders to China, imposed a strict 14-day leave of absence for all Chinese nationals that returned from the Mainland and distributed millions of masks to its citizens. It has also banned travelers from Cheongdo and Daegu as coronavirus cases in South Korea continue to rise. Several thermal scans are placed on Changi Airport where all the passengers are being checked for any kind of flu-like symptoms.
Total reported cases - 166
Vietnam started with stringent measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. After the cases were reported from the Son Loi commune, the government places the entire commune under lockdown. It also postponed the reopening of schools, and residents cannot leave the commune for a 20-day period. The country has seen many flight cancellations to South Korea even though the government has not suspended any flights as of now. With fast and strict action, Vietnam has not reported any new cases after 13th February.
Total reported cases - 35
Thailand is one of the Asian countries that receive the highest number of visitors from Mainland China. So, when it recorded its first Coronavirus patient on 13th January 2020, it started the screening of all the passengers arriving from China at every airport in the country. The Thai government announced new screening criteria for travelers from Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan
Total reported cases - 59
9. Middle East countries
When Iran reported its first Coronavirus case on 19th February 2020, no one was expecting it to become one of the worst-hit countries outside of China. But today, with more than 8,000 cases, its neighboring countries Afghanistan, Armenia, Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan closed their border to Iran. Seven Iranian government officials have contracted Coronavirus as of now including Vice President Masoumeh Ebtekar, Mr. Rouhani’s deputy for women’s affairs.
Iraq has also closed its borders to Kuwait after Kuwait confirmed 69 cases of Coronavirus disease.
Oman decided to suspend all civilian flights to Iran after the sudden outbreak.
Kuwait had already suspended flights to Iran. But this week, it also suspended air travel to South Korea, Thailand, Italy, and Iraq.
After recording its 1st case of COVID-19 on 24th February 2020, the Afghanistan government temporarily suspended air and land travel to and from Iran. It also halted the import of meat and eggs from Iran.
Israel, in order to curb the spread of the virus, declared the closure of hotel tourist sites and also put restrictions on large public gatherings.
The UAE has one of the busiest airports in the world. But after the outbreak of COVID-19 in Iran and other neighboring countries, it has banned all flights to and from all Iranian cities. UAE has already halted all flight operations to and from China, except Beijing. Till today, there are 27 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in UAE.
The Dubai and Abu Dhabi International airports in the UAE are ranked as some of the world’s busiest airports in the world. The country is carrying out screening procedures for all passengers arriving from China as a precautionary measure to control the spread of the virus.
10. USA and UK
The USA has witnessed more than 1,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus since 21 January 2020. In response, the US government introduced a strict 14-day quarantine for all US citizens traveling from Hubei. It has also started denying entry to non-US nationals if they have traveled to and from China within a preceding couple of weeks.
There are 380+ cases reported to date in the UK and it had more than 70 citizens on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. It has been carrying out enhanced monitoring of direct flights from all the Coronavirus affected countries including China, Singapore, and South Korea.
Apart from the countries mentioned above, India announced that it will temporarily suspend the e-visa issued to those in China and also canceled the ones that were already issued before 2nd February 2020. India has seen a significant jump in the Coronavirus cases in the last few days and has reported 62 cases as of now. After 15 Italian tourists were tested positive for Coronavirus in Jaipur, the Indian government will also now start universal screening for all passengers flying into India from abroad.
Spain had organized the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona but canceled the event after considering risks associated with COVID-19. Spain has confirmed total of 1695 cases and most of the patients are located in Madrid and Valencia regions.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Germany has risen to 1,565 today and it has resulted in the German Robert Koch Institute raising its virus threat level for Germany to 'moderate'.
Russia, after recording 2 cases of the novel Coronavirus, closed all its borders with China and also suspended rail services to the affected Chinese regions.
Cambodia, to stop the spread, canceled all flights to and from Wuhan in China. Sri Lanka has suspended the on-arrival visa facility for Chinese travelers.
If you are experiencing any symptoms, then governments are urging you to stay at home before getting medical care. Wear a facemask when visiting public places, wash hands as frequently as possible, do not share any personal items, and contact the healthcare professionals as soon as possible.
You can refer to these websites for more information and guidelines regarding COVID-19 outbreak
1. Daily updated by the World Health Organization.
2. Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE.
3. Country-wise distribution of recorded cases by Pharmaceutical Technology.
4. Common FAQs and situation updates by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
*The numbers mentioned in this article are based on the updated reports available on 4th March 2020. These figures will be updated depending on how the Coronavirus outbreak unfolds.