Travelers cancel, reschedule trips due to coronavirus fears
PHILADELPHIA - As the coronavirus outbreak spreads, travelers have been rescheduling or canceling their plans altogether.
The virus has so far reached more than three dozen countries and 81,000 people, with most of them occurring in China.
A customized update to pandemic flu plans should be completed in the coming days for the COVID-19 virus, the Pennsylvania health secretary said Wednesday, although the state has yet to identify a case of infection.
The Health Department has plans to quickly notify the public if a case is confirmed within Pennsylvania, Dr. Rachel Levine said. The state has supplies of personal protective equipment, but she said those stockpiles could be drawn down if there is a significant spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, Villanova University announced they are bringing home students studying abroad in Italy due to an increase in the number of coronavirus cases in Northern Italy.
Travelers from China are being checked, some in person and some by phone, Levine said. She said an unspecified number of people are being monitored for symptoms, and laboratory testing is being done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
AAA spokeswoman Jana Tidwell tells FOX 29's Joyce Evans the coronavirus is causing many travelers more than a little concern.
"We've seen people who have changed destinations and have decided to rebook to the Caribbean southern hemisphere. We just don't know what's going to happen in terms of the spread of the virus," Tidwell explained.
She advises already booked travelers to think about restrictions and fees.
"Each and every travel insurance policy is different. They cover different things. Unfortunately, fear of travel is not a reason that is typically covered in terms of cancelation," she explained.
There are no confirmed cases in the Philadelphia area.
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