As coronavirus sweeps the globe, the US President Donald Trump has taken serious measures to protect the country. He has declared a national state of emergency in the country and has taken extreme measures imposing a travel ban to countries in Europe.
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At the time of writing the UK is exempt from this travel ban, currently only applicable to the 26 border-free Schengen states. However, when addressing the nation today he said that the UK may face similar rules.
President Trump said: “We are looking at it based on the new numbers that are coming out and we may have to include them in the list of countries that we will, you could say ban or whatever it is, during this period of time, but yeah their numbers have gone up fairly precipitously over the last 24 hours so we may be adding that and we may be adding a couple of others and we may frankly start thinking about taking some off.”
The news comes as the World Health Organisation names Europe the centre of the pandemic.
Numbers of confirmed cases across the continent have rapidly risen, meanwhile, China is beginning to see a decline.
So, what does this mean for British holidaymakers with plans to visit the US?
At the time of writing little is known about what will happen with coronavirus.
Experts have described it as an “unprecedented situation”.
The FCO currently is advising Britons travelling to the US: “On 11 March President Trump announced that effective from midnight Friday 13 March, the US Government will not permit entry to the USA of any non-US nationals, including British nationals, who have visited (or are resident in) Schengen Area countries 14 days or less prior to their travel to the USA.
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“The US Government has indicated that this is a temporary restriction that will last for 30 days. This restriction does not apply to travellers from the UK who have been continually present in the UK or the Republic of Ireland for at least 14 days prior to their travel to the USA.
“We understand the restriction does not apply to those with permanent residence (Green Card holders) in the US or to non-US national spouses of US nationals or permanent residents.”
Should the US impose a travel ban on the UK, all direct flights will be cancelled.
In most cases, flight operators should issue refunds to passengers or the opportunity to rebook at a later date.
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Meanwhile, travellers stranded in the US should be offered a “rescue flight” from their travel operator.
Usually, travel insurance would be on hand to cover any expenses that come as a result, however increasingly insurance firms are temporarily suspending their coverage for coronavirus related incident.
Depending on the company, some firms will continue to offer assistance to those who took our policies before the virus was named a pandemic by the WHO, however, others are unable to do so.
It is best to check with your travel insurance provider to see what they advise.
Some companies have also halted sales.
Amongst the travel insurance companies to halt coverage or sales are LV=, Insureandgo, and Aviva.
Speaking to Express.co.uk LV= said: “In light of the significant impact that coronavirus is having globally, LV= General Insurance has taken the difficult decision to pause the sale of travel insurance to new customers. In the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the number of policies sold double.
“Whilst LV= is a major motor and home insurer, we are a small travel insurance provider and it’s important for the long-term benefit of all our customers that our exposure to this market remains at a sustainable level for the overall business.
“We considered a number of different options, such as excluding cover or significantly increasing prices for new customers but we strongly believe this temporary measure of pausing the sale of new policies and focusing on our existing customers is the right decision.
“There is no change for existing customers who already have a policy with us.
“They can contact us in the normal way if they need to make a claim, and we are also still offering renewals to our existing customers so they can continue to be insured with us.”
Meanwhile, Aviva issued an updated statement saying: “Following a review of the evolving risks posed by Coronavirus, we have decided that it is necessary to make some changes to the travel insurance we can offer our direct customers at this challenging time.
“Travel insurance is designed to cover unforeseen events and Coronavirus is a known event which creates a high likelihood that customers’ travel plans will be affected.
“For new customers, we have therefore made the decision to pause the sale of Aviva’s travel insurance from 3 pm on 13 March 2020. We envisage that this decision, affecting Aviva’s single and multi-trip travel insurance, will be a temporary action. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.
“In addition, as Coronavirus is a known event, Aviva travel insurance customers booking trips may not be covered on their multi-trip policies for cancellation and abandonment, depending on their destination.”
For holidays booked in the future, the best thing to do is stay up-to-date with news and relevant authorities, as well as your travel or tour operator.
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