UPDATED: February 11th, 2020
Following the WHO’s declaration of a global public health emergency, we at Kaya are following progress of the issue to ensure we support our in-country teams and our participants as the situation develops. Our thoughts go out to the people of China who are at the center of the epidemic, and to those affected by the illness.
Currently Kaya are suspending all our programs to China in 2020, and will track the situation in hope of a swift containment and cure of the virus before the end of the year.
At this time, all other Kaya locations remain unaffected, but vigilant, and we will be speaking to participants to ensure they travel on routes avoiding transfers within China. As there is a lot of uncertainty at this time as to how this epidemic will spread and how long it will take to contain, we will be tracking and sharing up to date information here to keep you informed on the situation.
Working with institutions across the US and Europe, we can confirm we are following all the current recommended practises of educational and volunteer travel to ensure we are still able to continue in our important work at our locations without exposing our participants to unnecessary risk.
Situation in China
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of State and the British Foreign office have issued a travel advisory for China to recommend against nonessential travel to the entire country
- As of Tuesday 11th Feb 2020, 40,000+ people infected globally, with the vast majority of those in mainland China, resulting in 1,016 deaths (0900 GMT)
- China are quarantining many of their cities and foreign nationals within the Wuhan District where the virus was first discovered and most of those infected are found have or are being evacuated and held in quarantine until confirmed virus-free.
- Many countries have suspended flights from mainland China in an effort to contain the spread further.
- On Thursday Jan 30th the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a public health emergency, which makes it a legal duty for countries to respond with action to contain or tackle the outbreak at a local level.
- According to the BBC (as of 11 Feb 2020) “infections have now been recorded in 25 countries including Japan, Thailand, the US, Canada, France, Germany and the UK” and two deaths outside of mainland China – one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.
- Researchers working on a vaccine report positive progress, with german Research Minister Anja Karliczek estimating a vaccine would be ready within a couple of months.
- WHO is working with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and have developed a guidance document to provide advice to cabin crew and airport workers, based on country queries. The guidance can be found on the IATA webpage
- The chart on the left, (taken from a BBC report Feb 11th) shows the number of confirmed infections outside of China
The current coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses. Several known coronaviruses usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. However, at least two previously identified coronaviruses have caused severe disease — severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus. The current coronavirus currently has not been officially named, but has been referred to as the Wuhan Coronavirus in the media.
The good news is that the current virus is believed to have a much better survival rate than SARS and MURS, with an estimated 3% death rate (others are over 10%). Older individuals and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Most people who are becoming ill, and nearly all who have died, were older with underlying medical conditions.
Initial reports released indicate the course of illness is not as severe or contagious as seasonal influenza (flu). The incubation period of the current virus is approximately 1-14 days after exposure, with the average being 10 days until symptoms appear. Infected individuals are likely contagious to others before displaying symptoms. These symptoms include fever, fatigue, and cough, sometimes worsening to diarrhoea, difficulty breathing, kidney failure, and pneumonia – especially in those with underlying medical conditions.
Tips for staying healthy while travelling
There area few general pieces of advice provided to all people travelling (and are equally applicable to everyone at home)
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and carry sanitizer when out and about.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Stay home when you are sick – not only avoid spreading your germs, but as your immune system will be more susceptible.
- Carry disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces, such as plane trays, arm rests and door handles you are exposed to
- On flights, open your air vent to blow away stale air from around you
- Face masks are not really necessary, but can be useful if you find yourself located near someone who is showing signs of illness and want to have extra protection.
Please connect with one of our advisors using the chat now button below or the button opposite if you have any questions about this.