OPINION – It has been some years since I visited my birth country, Italy. And 2020 was to be the year that I and my wife would visit, get to know the country, in particular the north, from where most of my Italian friends in Costa Rica are from, a part of Italy I have never been to.
It was to be our honeymoon, though we have been together for more than a decade. Not many weeks ago we discussed the places we would visit, incorporating at least a week with a dear friend living here in Costa Rica who had already booked a month in summer (in Italy) home.
Yesterday we canceled our travel to Italy plans for this year.
Many travelers are asking the same question. Should I cancel my trip because of the coronavirus?
Coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate. The virus sweeps the globe. The virus has infected more than 82,600 people in China and at least 46 other countries.
The number of coronavirus cases in Italy soared. Italian officials counted 528 cases, up from 400 on Wednesday, with 14 deaths. The number of infections more than doubled in three days.
Whole towns have been isolated. Most other affected European nations had just a handful of cases. In Spain, where there are 17 cases, the latest patient, announced Thursday, was a soccer fan from Valencia — one of the thousands who had traveled to Milan.
Health officials have not issued any broad recommendations to the general public about limiting travel that would trigger a wave of vacation cancellations, at least for the moment.
Costa Rica’s minister of Health, Daniel Salas, was emphatic on Wednesday that the country would not close its borders to visitors from China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
Costa Rica does not have any confirmed or suspicious cases of the coronavirus, but Salas was clear that it will get here “sooner or later”.
The question of whether it’s appropriate to cancel or change travel plans due to spread of the coronavirus is a personal decision.
Questions you should ask before canceling your trip because of the coronavirus
- Is your destination affected by the coronavirus outbreak?
- Are you part of a group that is at risk of a coronavirus infection (older people or those with pre-existing medical conditions).
- Do you have travel insurance? If you cancel, will your travel insurance cover your costs?
The most important criteria for cancellation is your destination. Browse official websites on the internet for travel advisories to see if it’s still safe to travel. Don’t rely on one source. Check the latest U.S. State Department travel advisories. The Canadian government advisories and U.K. travel advisories are also a good source for up-to-date health information.
Another good source is Medjet. If the medical evacuation company suspends coverage in a country, that’s a dealbreaker.
What’s your health? Your health is an important consideration whether to cancel your trip because of the coronavirus.
Italy is out for me, for now. But I will not let the Coronavirus stop me from traveling.