COVID-19? People Need To Protect Themselves
By Scott Hume
Scott Hume is VP Operations at Global Rescue, the world’s only integrated travel risk and crisis response provider. Hume has supervised thousands of medical and security operations as a result of natural disasters, illnesses, and injuries.
Most travelers (86%) are concerned about coronavirus with 40% either revising their plans for different destinations, postponing travel, taking a wait-and-see approach, or canceling trips, based on the results of a Global Rescue survey of our members, who are among the most experienced travelers in the world.
Overwhelmingly, travelers are concerned about coronavirus exposure, quarantines, and getting sick and, like most of us, they have lots of questions. Every traveler should be aware that restrictions – like mandatory quarantines or entry denials – can be imposed without warning. One of our members put succinctly.
“The issue is not the risk of being sick – it is the risk of being stuck somewhere under quarantine for an extended time period,” said Scott from Texas.
The survey showed travelers preferred – by an overwhelming 3-to-1 margin – getting medical advice, a diagnosis, or a prescription using a smartphone for access to an online video call with a physician if they were quarantined, instead of visiting a doctor’s office. That’s consistent with a large uptick in recent membership sales that include access to telemedicine services.
Coronavirus is highly infectious and could overwhelm hospitals, creating shortages of beds, medicine, medical personnel, respirators, and other resources. All travelers should consider acquiring services that provide smartphone or computer/tablet access to video consultations with physicians to avoid coming into contact with those infected in hospitals. And those planning to travel should consider a medical advisory/evacuation membership and travel insurance.
If you are traveling and contract coronavirus outside of the U.S. things can get tricky. If you’re not infectious, Global Rescue can coordinate medical transport services to local hospitals and provide support for evacuation and repatriation if allowed by governmental public health authorities in the country of origin and destination.
But, if someone is restricted from travel due to infection, we provide advisory services including medical and security guidance and referral, coordination and transmission of medical records and assistance navigating travel options.
Travelers must remember the risk goes beyond potential exposure to coronavirus. There’s a real risk of getting stuck almost anywhere including, in a foreign country, on a cruise ship, or at an airport. Authorities are unlikely to announce in advance any plans or locations they intend to lock down. It’s just going to happen, and once it does those borders and barriers are not going to be permeable.
Whether you’re traveling now or postponing a trip, people need to protect themselves. Travel bans alone will not put an end to the spread of the disease. Screenings, testing, washing and sanitizing your hands often, social distancing, avoiding contact with sick people, working from home, and self-quarantining all help reduce virus exposure.
Beyond that, there are three things people can do to keep abreast of developments and protect yourself whether you’re currently on travel, have an upcoming trip, or planning one.
First, stay informed. The Global Rescue Intelligence team is monitoring the outbreak closely, providing a daily report at info.globalrescue.com/virus.
Next, obtain travel risk and crisis response protection that provides medical advisory services, support for evacuation and repatriation, medical and security guidance and referral, coordination and transmission of medical records, and assistance navigating travel options.
Finally, acquire services for smartphone access for video consultations with licensed physicians to receive medication, order labs and imaging in all 50 states without having to go to the hospital where the risk of exposure to other potentially infected individuals is high. Global Rescue’s current policies:
- If an individual has purchased a membership but has not begun activation of their services yet, Global Rescue will let them push back their start date.
- If an individual is already in the active time period of their membership, no refund can be given.
- Global Rescue is offering TotalCare (telehealth) membership at a 5% discount.
For more information, please visit Global Rescue.