What is the coronavirus that everybody’s talking about?
You’ve probably seen a lot in the press about coronavirus. Coronavirus is actually a blanket term for a whole family of viruses that range from the common cold to more acute respiratory conditions such as Severe Acure Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Coronaviruses are common across the world. The one that’s causing such a stir at the moment is a specific strain called Covid-19, which was unknown before the outbreak in Wuhan, China.
Generally, Covid-19 causes mild symptoms such as a cough and fever. It can, however, be more serious for people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
This virus is a new strain and not much information is known about it. The World Health Organisation, governments, and other agencies are taking precautions to limit the spread of the disease. A lot of the information regarding the virus isn't always accurate – which is making it difficult for travellers to make informed choices about their travel plans.
Will the new coronavirus affect my trip?
As a responsible travel company we always follow the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO). The FCO are a branch of the UK government responsible for protecting British interests worldwide and they issue travel advice and information to UK citizens.
At present the only country where the FCO advise against travel due to the coronavirus, is mainland China. In line with this advice, Gap 360 has cancelled all trips to China up until the end of April and contacted all customers due to depart to China during this time period to arrange alternatives and discuss options. However the risk in other parts of the world is currently low (including other countries in Asia) and has not impacted any of our other trips.
The safety of our customers is our number one priority and we will continue to monitor the situation closely as the situation develops. We are also in contact with our local teams in country and all reports are saying that travel to Asia and other parts of the world is unaffected by the virus. We have customers currently travelling in Southeast Asia and other parts of the world and they are having a great time! See our latest groups and trip updates on our Instagram page here @gap360official - you can also ask a question in one of our Facebook Groups to contact people currently travelling with us for reassurance.
Unless we have contacted you directly regarding changes to your trip, you can rest assured that it is going ahead as planned.
We also have fantastic teams in country looking after all our travellers, as well as a 24/7 emergency phone line, so we are always on hand to help.
What happens if the FCO change their advice?
Should the FCO change their advice for any countries where our trips operate we would contact all travellers who are due to travel in the coming weeks, and help them with alternative arrangements. We would always try to find an alternative trip for you in a different country of your preference. With over 220 trips in all continents, there are lots to choose from!
If you were unable to travel to a different destination, then we would be able to refund the programme cost of your trip, if your trip was unable to go ahead due to the FCO advising against travel.
For customers due to travel at a later date, we will be closely monitoring the situation and will evaluate the FCO advice nearer the time of your trip. If the FCO advice is lifted your trip would still be able to go ahead as planned.
What if I want to cancel my place on a trip?
If the FCO are advising that travel to your destination is safe and your trip is going ahead as planned, then our normal terms and conditions would apply. Under certain circumstances there may be an option to postpone your start date or amend your booking to a new destination, subject to our normal terms and conditions and availability. Please contact your Travel Co-ordinator to see if this is possible.
What if I have a flight with a stopover in China or any country affected by coronavirus?
In order to contain the spread of the virus, some countries have suspended flights coming in from mainland China (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan in some cases) and as such, some airlines may have cancelled certain routes. We recommend you speak with your airline regarding any potential flight changes and alternative routes.
All customers who have booked flights with our partner Flights 360, will have been contacted directly if any changes to their flights have occurred. Should you wish to contact them directly you can call 01892 543 943 or email [email protected]
What if I am travelling from (or are a resident of or travelling on a passport from) a country affected by coronavirus?
Some countries have implemented new entry restrictions for people travelling through or from coronavirus affected countries. You should check with the embassies of all countries that you will be visiting regarding any entry restrictions that may apply to you, even if you have already had a visa granted. As entry regulations regarding coronavirus are continuously evolving, it is important to monitor the FCO advice for the destinations you are travelling to in the run up to your trip as information is subject to change.
Should I be doing anything different whilst travelling?
Please see the following websites if you would like more information:
Last updated 25th February 2020.