Coronavirus causing travel concerns among U.S. travelers


In this Feb. 1, 2020, photo provided by Ian Lipkin, Lipkin, director of the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University, waits for his flight to Beijing at the Guangzhou airport in Guangzhou, China. In Beijing he met with members of the main China CDC along with other Chinese scientific leaders. Lipkin is under a quarantine since his return from China, monitoring for possible symptoms of coronavirus. (Guo Cheng/Courtesy of Ian Lipkin via AP)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Several recent travel notices concerning the Coronavirus have travelers on high alert as they book trips for the following weeks and months to come.

This comes after the Center for Disease released a statement regarding the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and its ability to spread within the United States. The spread of the coronavirus in countries overseas such as China and locations that have confirmed cases like Hong Kong, Italy and Japan has travelers concerned about heading abroad.

AAA spokesman Clay Ingram in Birmingham said their customers are asking questions about the virus as it might affect their Summer travel plans.

“Our travel agents are helping them make that decision about where to go,” Ingram said. “Some areas are safer than others, obviously, so what we’re seeing is people are picking a destination that they feel more comfortable going to that’s not in those affected areas.”

Tuesday evening Royal Caribbean International held a special event at AAA for future travel plans. The cruise lines travel all over the world including China, Europe and Australia.

Customers say they are concerned, but not worried that it will affect their arrangements. Meghan Strickland said she is an experienced traveler and is prepared to take the necessary precautions in order to still travel abroad in 2020.

“I’ve done traveling pretty much my whole life,” Strickland said. “And as long as you take care of yourself, you’re fine. “

A Level 3 travel notice for Chinas has been in effect since January 27, according to the CDC. Level 3 among travel notices means to avoid all nonessential travel in that country. On February 19, Level 1 travel notices for travelers to Hong Kong and Japan were posted. The notice asks travelers to practice usual precautions. February 22, the Level 1 notice for Japan heightened to Level 2: practice enhanced precaution.

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