AS coronavirus spreads around the world many Brits will be wondering whether they should book holidays – and where they should travel to.
Cases of the virus in the UK leap to 85 after 32 new positive tests were confirmed today.
Read our coronavirus live blog for all the latest news and updates
Experts predict that an outbreak in the UK will explode in April and it could last until the height of summer, throwing plans for travel into chaos.
The Sun spoke to Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, about whether you should book a holiday and how you can protect yourself if you do.
He said: “For those who haven’t booked a holiday yet and want to, there’s no right answer here.
“It also depends which camp you’re in. There are those who are medically more vulnerable – the older, those with immune problems or diabetes are high risk and statistically it likely to be a far more serious illness.
“If you’re under 50 and healthy then it’s more a case of whether you want to travel to impacted ideas.”
Mr Lewis explained that there are three things that travellers need to consider before booking.
How far away is the trip?
Firstly, how soon will you be going on holiday. Mr Lewis said: “If you’re planning to go away within the next few weeks and the country is still accessible then you need to think about whether you still want to go.
The money saving expert said that it becomes a lot more complicated the further ahead you book.
He added: “The summer holidays are four months away and it’s only two months since the first case of coronavirus was reported to the World Health Organisation.
“We simply don’t know if it will be done and dusted by the time you travel.”
It means that travelers need to weigh up their options, whether they want to travel. At the moment the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is advising against all but essential travel to China, 11 towns in northern Italy and parts of south Korea.
It is also banning travel to the Hubei province in China where the virus started.
There are a growing number of cases are being reported in countries in Europe, but this is changing rapidly.
Money Saving Expert also has an updated guide with advice for travellers.
Are you high risk?
The next thing that Mr Lewis said to consider is your susceptibility to the virus.
He said: “Clearly those people who fall into the vulnerable category need to think very carefully about the risk of catching coronavirus and where they would get healthcare or self-isolate.
“I would certainly not be booking a holiday unless you can get pre-existing medical travel insurance that covers you for coronavirus cancellation.”
Medics have said that those with underlying health conditions are at higher risk. These include conditions like diabetes, heart disease, asthma and cancer.
We explain more in our guide to vulnerable conditions.
Do you want to go on holiday to an affected country?
Some travellers may feel that it's safer to travel to a country which does not have a significant number of sufferers.
Mr Lewis urge people to think about whether they would want to travel to country where the cases are growing.
He said: “The key trigger for travel insurance is if the FCO declares you should not go to a country unless for essential travel.
“That’s where travel insurers will cover you if you’ve already bought insurance.
What should you look for in a good travel insurance policy?
TRAVEL insurance policies can vary a great deal, but here are some 'must have' features you should look out for from the Money Advice Service.
- Medical expenses – A good policy will give cover of £1million or more for travel in Europe and £2million or more for the USA
- Repatriation service – The costs of getitng you back to the UK for medical reasons should be covered automatically by your policy
- Cancellation and curtailment – A good policy will cover you for £2,000 or more if you have to cancel or shorten your holiday
- Missed departure – Covers additional accommodation costs and travel expenses up to £500 or more if you miss your flight due to circumstances out of your control
- Delay – You'll usually be covered for £250 or more if your travel plans are delayed due to circumstances out of your control
- Baggage cover – Covers you if your baggage is lost, damaged or stolen. Look for policies that have cover of £1,500 or more.
“But if you don’t want to go because you’re worried then you won’t be covered by travel insurance.
“You need to ask yourself this question: ‘If there’s a country with a growing number of cases but not yet one of the destinations limited by the FCO, would you still go there?’
“If the answer to that question is no, then you need to understand that you would lose everything you’ve paid.
“It may be worth delaying booking until things are more certain.”
We’ve got a list of the countries which are yet to declare a case of coronavirus.
Insurance experts are warning people to take out travel insurance if they already have holidays booked in order to protect themselves.
We’ve also rounded up the travel insurers who will cover you if coronavirus causes flight cancellations.
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