The ongoing Novel Corona-Virus (COVID-19) outbreak is having significant impact on travel and dining around the globe.

The speed with which the outbreak is unfolding has created an atmosphere of uncertainty for travelers wondering how should they respond. We encourage travelers to check for the most recent and relevant updates. Blue Andaman Travels is well-positioned to assist in informing travelers throughout this challenging period – and when ready, assisting in recovery efforts.

Read on for a wrap up of how the virus is affecting travel, ways you can protect yourself, and tools and resources for staying abreast of this fast-developing situation.

Is it still safe to travel?

Many nations are enacting more stringent travel restrictions or travel bans, and new policies are being implemented daily. Here’s a roundup of travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.The IATA is also maintaining a comprehensive country-by-country list of COVID-19 restrictions on travel. Most commercial airlines have reduced or suspended routes to and from epidemic areas as well as an overall reduction due to fewer travelers in general. New travel restrictions are being introduced daily, so it is advisable to check directly with your carrier before flying. In addition, many restaurants and attractions around the world have closed to avoid large gatherings.Travelers returning from affected areas are advised to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days and follow their country’s national protocols — which may include self-quarantine for the incubation period.If symptoms do occur, travelers are advised to seek medical care and inform healthcare providers of their symptoms and their travel history.

What countries have reported cases of COVID-19?

COVID-19 cases have now been reported on every continent except Antarctica. On March 11 the WHO labelled COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

What are the symptoms and how do I protect myself?

Common signs of infection include shortness of breath, breathing difficulties, fever and cough. In more severe cases, it can lead to pneumonia, organ failure and death. Anyone can fall ill but the groups most at risk of severe infection or death are elderly people or people with pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes. Very few children have been diagnosed or suffered serious cases. COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person through respiratory droplets when an infected individual speaks, coughs or sneezes at close range, which the WHO defines as within 6 feet. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also warned it may be possible for a person to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. There have been some reported cases of asymptomatic spread, meaning a person showing no symptoms has passed the virus onto others. However, this is considered uncommon.

There is currently no vaccine against COVID-19. To protect yourself against infection, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends:

Washing your hands regularly with an alcohol-based sanitizer, or with soap and water. Maintaining distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Seeking medical care immediately if you are showing symptoms.

Andaman & Nicobar Admin Shuts Down Tourism, Limits Contact with Tribes Amid COVID-19 until 30 April 2020.

All Eco-tourism venues, jetties, boats and other attractions in the region have been closed for tourists till 30 April 2020 amidst country lock-down due to the corona-virus outbreak.

As the number of confirmed corona-virus cases in India reached 107 on Sunday, the tribal welfare department in Andamans, far away from the mainland, has taken precautionary measures to ensure the safety of tourists, residents and indigenous tribes. Six tribes exist in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands — Great Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Shompens, Nicobarese and the Sentinelese. Since the latter do not have any contact with the outside world, they are at heightened risk of the deadly virus. Symptomatic officials have been restricted from visiting tribal areas and other officials have been told to limit their contact with the tribes. The administration has also reduced the number of vehicles passing through the tribal reserve areas. These measures are undertaken to limit the chances of virus to spread in the tribal community. No need to panic as the local administration has taken several steps for the welfare of the local people, tribes and the tourists. An advisory against the spread of COVID-19 issued by the Andaman and Nicobar Administration read, “To prevent the outbreak of COVID-19 in A&N Islands, all tourists are advised to refrain from travelling to the Islands from the midnight of March 16, 2020, to April 30, 2020 amidst the national level lock-down extension”. Tourism facilities, including jetties, beaches, Eco-tourism sites and water sports activities, will also be suspended in the islands. Other major tourist sites including Cellular Jail (Light & Sound Shows), Swaraj Dweep (Havelock), Shaheed Dweep (Neil), Baratang etc. will also remain closed till further orders. However, only for residents of the Islands, all modes of transport including ships under the Directorate of Shipping Services (DSS), private vessels, administrative buses as well as private buses shall be operating at 50 per cent capacity. The modes of transport will also have ‘staggered seating’ to prevent close contact between passengers while travelling. Workers have also been asked to sanitize their vessels / vehicles before and after every trip.

Impact of COVID-19 on Andaman’s Tourism Industry

The tourism industry in the region incurred a massive loss due to the corona-virus outbreak. Data provided by the Union Home Ministry shows the revenue generation in the tourism sector (including airfare) in the Andamans region is nearly Rs 100 crores every year.

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