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Coronavirus in Romania: Is it safe to travel to Romania? Are there still flights

Romania has so far confirmed 89 cases of coronavirus in the country as the respiratory disease continues to spread through Europe. As a result, the nation has stepped up its measures to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

More than 145,000 have been infected by the coronavirus worldwide in 139 countries.

This week, the World Health Organisation labelled the coronavirus crisis a pandemic as it continues to worsen.

Globally, more than 5,000 people have died, while 71,715 have so far recovered.

Many countries, especially in Europe, are now stepping up measures to delay the spread of coronavirus, including travel bans, school closures and quarantines.

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Is it safe to travel to Romania?

Close to 90 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Romania and the authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus.

The public health system is already under significant strain.

This week the nation entered its second phase of its response to the outbreak with supermarkets and shopping centres now operating at reduced opening hours.

Indoor gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned, with cultural, artistic institutions and museums following suit.

Almost 14,000 are self-isolating while 2,067 are in quarantine.

On Friday, the government announced its members were self-isolating, after a Liberal Party senator confirmed he had the virus.

The Department for Emergency Situations spokesman, Theodor Mihai, said: “”We are considering increasing prevention measures, yet the conditions under which new restrictions will take place depends on several indicators such as the number of infected people, their health status and number of available quarantine sites.”

A work from home system has also been established as a precaution measure to come in aid of employees.

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Restrictions for travellers arriving in Romania include:

  • mandatory quarantine in an institution such as a hospital if you have travelled from Italy, Hubei Province in China, Madrid, Iran, or Daegu City or Chendongo County in South Korea
  • all flights, bus, and rail routes from Italy are suspended, and airlines have been asked to deny boarding to travellers coming from the above countries and areas
  • travellers arriving from other parts of China, South Korea, all of Iran, and Heinsberg District in North-Rhine Westphilia in Germany will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.Travellers arriving from the UK are required to fill in a form to self-certify that they are infection-free. Infringements on these procedures are being pursued with fines of up to €4000
  • the Romanian Government has indicated that travel restrictions are likely to expanded in the coming days. There are some indications that travel from the UK may be more tightly managed.

Within Romania the Government has:

  • announced the closure of national museums and other tourist attractions such as the Palace of the Parliament
  • banned confined space events with more than 100 participants, and all events with more than 1000 participants
  • closed all schools in the country until at least 22 March, which may be extended
  • recommended all universities suspend courses until 31 March
  • asked private companies based in cities and with over 99 employees to vary working hours to reduce overcrowding on public transport. Government ministries have been mandated to work with much lower staffing levels
  • advised against non-essential use of public transport

Are there still flights to Romania?

All flights to and from Italy have been cancelled, as people coming in will be automatically placed under quarantine and home isolation.

Some flights from Romania to Germany and those from Germany to Romania have also been cancelled.

Wizz Air also announced they would cancel flights to help stop the spread of the pandemic.

In a press release, the flight company said: “To help limit the epidemic, Wizz Air cancels flights from Memmingen / Munich West, Dortmund, Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg, Madrid, Nuremberg, Karlsruhe / Baden-Baden, Frankfurt Hahn to Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Timisoara, on March 11, 2020.”

As the situation continues to worsen more flights could be cancelled and all passenger due to travel to Romania should check with the airline if the flight will still be operating.

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Travel

Coronavirus in Norway: Is it safe to travel to Norway? Is Norway on lockdown?

More than 145,000 have been infected by the coronavirus worldwide with 1,002 of these cases in Norway. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen and has now been detected in some 110 countries across the globe.

Is it safe to travel to Norway?

The Norwegian authorities have introduced a number of precautionary measures in response to the ongoing crises.

The Scandinavian nation advised its citizens on Saturday not to travel abroad for the next month and urged Norwegians outside the country to consider returning home as soon as possible due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was making the recommendation due to the spreading virus and the risk other nations will restrict travel.

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Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said: “Countries can quickly introduce travel restrictions, quarantine at arrival from countries with coronavirus, and borders can close, flights could be cancelled or other measures initiated.”

The Norwegian capital of Oslo’s main airport has now shut its gates to foreign travellers, according to a local municipality said.

The government invoked emergency powers on Thursday to shut a range of private and public institutions, including schools and restaurants, and asked most people to work from home if they could.

The central bank made an emergency rate cut on Friday and pumped money into banks, while the government presented a package of fiscal and regulatory measures to aid the economy.

The new travel advice for avoiding infection includes the following:

  • All who have been outside Nordic countries, that is Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland, are to stay in their homes for 14 days after arriving home to Norway, regardless of whether they have symptoms.
  • Travellers from countries outside the Nordic region who are not residents of Norway will be asked to return. The alternative for these travellers is quarantine. Travellers with symptoms will be isolated.
  • This means that everyone presently staying in Norway and who has been in a country outside the Nordic region in the past 14 days is to be quarantined.

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This policy has retroactive effect and applies to all arrivals since Thursday 27 February.

The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice reads: “The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises that travellers from countries outside the Nordic region (Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Sweden) who are not residents of Norway will be asked to return.

“Those still wishing to enter will be required to enter self-quarantine for 14 days. Travellers with symptoms will be isolated.

“All visitors in Norway who arrived after February 27 are also required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“The British embassy is working to clarify what this means for those wishing to leave Norway before their 14 day self-quarantine has expired.

“Travellers are advised to check with their travel insurance company whether their policy covers them for costs incurred due to coronavirus precautions rather than illness.”

The Chief Medical Officer has advised British nationals aged 70 and over and those with pre-existing health condition against cruise ship travel at this time.

A number of Norwegian ports are also considering restrictions on passenger embarkation and disembarkation.

The situation can change rapidly so check with your cruise provider before travelling.

In addition, Norwegian authorities have issued recommendations people avoid using public transport unless strictly necessary.

Airports will remain open for now, but travel is being discouraged.

Read the latest updates on travelling to Norway at the FCO website.

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Travel

Coronavirus spread: How to avoid coronavirus on flights

The city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, is a transport hub known as the ‘thoroughfare of China’. With millions of people coming and going via the city, authorities had little choice but to lock the city down.

How to avoid coronavirus on flights

Medical experts have so far recommended frequent hand-washing as the most effective way of preventing the spread of the virus.

The wearing of face masks has also been advised, but with billions of people in China and the necessity to swap masks up to four times a day, there is a high demand for the protective gear.

That increased demand could soon lead to a shortage of face masks but even so, their efficiency has been debated.

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David Powell is a physician and medical adviser to the International Air Transport Association.

He told Bloomberg that COVID-19 can’t survive for long on seats and armrests.

The greater risk of infection comes from physical contact between persons.

He adds that masks and gloves help spread bugs rather than stopping them.

Dr Powell said: “Viruses and other microbes like to live on living surfaces like us.

“Just shaking hands with somebody will be a greater risk by far than some dry surface that has no biological material on it.

“The survival of viruses on surfaces isn’t great, so it’s believed that normal cleaning, and then the extra cleaning in the event that someone was discovered to be contagious, is the appropriate procedure.”

He added: “The hands are the way that these viruses most efficiently spread.

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“Top of the list is frequent hand washing, hand sanitizing, or both.

“Avoid touching your face. If you cough or sneeze, it’s important to cover your face with a sleeve.

“Better yet, a tissue to be disposed of carefully, and then sanitizing the hands afterward.

“Washing your hands and drying them is the best procedure. When that’s not easy to do, alcohol-based sanitizer is a good second-best.”

The medical adviser warns that wearing masks and gloves could help spread coronavirus on a flight more efficiently than anything else.

Dr Powell argues that gloves and masks can in fact an ideal environment for microbes to thrive.

He said: “There’s very limited evidence of benefit, if any, in a casual situation.

“Masks are useful for those who are unwell to protect other people from them.

“But wearing a mask all the time will be ineffective. It will allow viruses to be transmitted around it, through it and worse still, if it becomes moist it will encourage the growth of viruses and bacteria.

“Gloves are probably even worse, because people put on gloves and then touch everything they would have touched with their hands.

“So it just becomes another way of transferring micro-organisms.

“And inside the gloves, your hands get hot and sweaty, which is a really good environment for microbes to grow.”

So how likely is it for passengers to be infected while travelling on an aircraft?

According to Dr Powell the risk is low because of the air inside the plane.

He said: “The risk of catching a serious viral infection on an aircraft is low.

“The air supply to a modern airliner is very different from a movie theater or an office building.

“The air is a combination of fresh air and recirculated air, about half each.

“The recirculated air goes through filters of the exact same type that we use in surgical operating theatres.

“That supplied air is guaranteed to be 99.97 per cent or better free of viruses and other particles.

“So the risk, if there is one, does not come from the supplied air. It comes from other people.”

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The coronavirus spreads quicker through human to human contact.

The World Health Organisation defines contact with an infected person as being seated within two rows of one another on a plane.

But people don’t just sit during flights, particularly ones lasting longer than a few hours.

They visit the bathroom, stretch their legs, and grab items from the overhead bins.

A study by a group of public health researchers found that passengers in window seats came into less contact than those sat in the middle or aisle seats.

Howard Weiss, a professor of biology and mathematics at Penn State University, lead the FlyHealthy Research Team study.

He told National Geographic: “If you’re seated in an aisle seat, certainly there will be quite a few people moving past you, but they’ll be moving quickly.

“In aggregate, what we show is there’s quite a low probability of transmission to any particular passenger.”

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