ITAA Statement amid outbreak of Coronavirus
Dublin, 29th January 2020 Following an advisory from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) is recommending that customers avoid travelling to the Hubei province of China entirely, and reconsider travelling to the rest of China unless it is absolutely essential amid the outbreak of coronavirus in a number of Chinese cities. The ITAA is also advising affected holidaymakers in the country to follow the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Chinese local authorities and accommodation providers.
Travellers should be aware that travel restrictions are in place across all major cities, while the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism has suspended all tour group companies’ activities to prevent further virus spread, which may cause disruptions to travel plans. The ITAA recommends that Irish travellers in affected areas to stay indoors where possible and to avoid large gatherings.
John Spollen, President of the ITAA, stated, “Airports are still operating but there are increased security measures in place. As the situation remains fluid, containment measures could be increased at any time. Travellers should be aware of delays and checks when moving within China, entering or leaving, especially at airports. If you are affected, you should contact your tour operator or travel agent.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs is advising travellers already in the country to take extra care, wash their hands regularly with alcohol based soap, wear single use masks and observe food safety as recommended by the World Health Organization. As this situation is developing rapidly, they have also advised following guidelines on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control website, available here: https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china .
The ITAA has advised travellers currently in China wishing to return early should contact their travel provider to discuss their options, and recommend that intending travellers maintain contact with their travel adviser and tour operator for travel updates.
Latest travel updates can be found on the Department’s TravelWise app: https://www.dfa.ie/travelwise/