Corona Virus – What are your travel rights

Thousands of flights are being cancelled every day with the usual visa on arrival stopping in countries such as Vietnam. As it carries on spreading around the World it is a confusing and worrying time for holidaymakers and business travellers. Here is a short guide on things you need to know when travelling.

Usually, insurers and airlines take their advice from the Official UK foreign travel advice also known as the FCO. Before booking any flight check the small print and buy your travel insurance immediately after looking at the policies, in particular, to see if you will be entitled to a refund if your trip is cancelled.

Some insurers will not pay out unless the FCO has advised against visiting, if this is the case and you still want to travel, your insurance may be invalid. Therefore, it is always wise to check. It is not clear how this will affect future flights in May, June and onwards

Countries that should be avoided include mainland China, Italy, Iran and parts of Spain and cities in South Korea. Countries themselves are imposing steps such as the United States who have banned any flights between 26 European countries and themselves. Other countries are using extensive screening at airports and land borders to check that the coronavirus is not being transported and spread further. If you do, however, show any symptoms upon arrival you can expect to be placed into quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

If you decide to cancel your trip without the FCO advising so, it is unlikely that the insurers will pay any compensation, however many airlines including British Airways, Easy Jet and Virgin Atlantic are letting passengers rebook flights for free. It is wise to go to the holiday provider or airline first to ask for a refund or to rebook before turning to the insurers.

Some insurers have started to change their policies in the wake of this with some suspending travel insurance sales completely. Places like Money Saving Expert are helping provide advice covering much of what you need to know about travelling abroad.

Advice for travellers is to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people of you have travelled to the Uk from any of the places the FCO have listed. For students, it is important to try and return home from countries that are listed as all but essential travel especially when they are on placement. Universities and schools are now beginning to support the return of their students who are overseas. Future trips are being cancelled and postponed and students are being advised to self assess and visit the FCO’s website.


The NHS states that the symptoms are: a dry cough, high temperature and shortness of breath – but these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness. Look out for flu-like symptoms, such as aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose and a sore throat. It’s important to remember that some people may become infected but won’t develop any symptoms or feel unwell.


Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and try to use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and avoid touching any part of your face. Try to carry hand sanitizer and tissue with you at all times.

It is important that you call NHS 111 if you do begin to feel unwell so that they can advice you on what to do next.

By Abi Trunk

Feature image courtesy of Unsplash

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