Coronavirus prompts CDC travel warning for China

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A new warning from the Center for Disease Control: Don’t travel to China.

The country has seen another 1,771 cases of the virus bringing the total to over 4,500 since the outbreak began in late December, prompting the CDC to raise their warning to the maximum level 3 for the entire nation.

No cases have been confirmed here in Hawaii, and local travel agents and airlines are hoping to ensure that even if it might come at their own financial loss.

“Once the CDC issues any kind of travel warning we will cancel our tour.” Said Air and Sea President Henry Ou, who’s company provides tours to China from Hawaii.

Masks have been a popular use for protection, but most experts note frequent hand washing is the most effective protection. Ou says quarantine efforts have been extensive in China.

“If there’s one person whether or not you have the virus if you get fever if you catch cold. They’re pretty much going to put you in the quarantine for 14 days.” Ou said.

“Also the part is one person in the group gets sick so the entire group gets quarantined for 14 days,” he added.

Air and Sea has already lost a 130 person tour, which is often booked months in advance.

“Starting from today people start calling to cancel the tour for March, April, and May,” Ou said.

Many airlines in the United States have been providing waivers for cancellation or rebooking, including Hawaiian Airlines.

“While we don’t operate flights to or from China, Hawaiian Airlines guests holding tickets that include travel to/from/via China with our airline partners through Feb. 16 may reschedule their flights without incurring change fees, or cancel flights for a refund. Rebooked flights must be scheduled for travel no later than April 19.” a representative told KHON2 Monday.

United Airlines is also willing to work with customers.

“While there is no current impact to United’s operations, we have a travel waiver in place for customers traveling to, from and through the major airports we serve in China.”

American Airlines is offering waivers for customers traveling to Wuhan, Shanghai, and Beijing.

Delta is offering free rebooking on their flights to Beijing and Shanghai on flights through January 31st as long as they’re booked before March 31st.

Ou says for now airlines in China are also offering refunds.

“At this moment most of the airlines is already authorizing refunds for China. As far as how long that’s going to last we don’t know.”

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