Travel within the United States remains at low risk, but we are aware of the fluidity of the situation. Currently, the CDC has said that “based on current information, the risk from 2019-nCoV to the American public is currently deemed to be low” but that “this is a rapidly evolving situation and the risk assessment may change daily.” We also know that counties and cities in California have declared states of emergency along with other states such as Washington and Florida in an effort to prepare.
We suggest that if your team members happened to have recently traveled outside the US to one of the high-risk areas: currently defined by the CDC and World Health Organization (WHO) as China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy (Warning Level 3) and Japan (Alert Level 2):
• Work from home for 14 days following your return or potential exposure and inform your manager of your travel history immediately.
• Monitor your health condition closely by taking your temperature twice a day and seek medical treatment immediately if you feel unwell.
• Remain symptom-free for the 14-day incubation period before returning to the office and interactions with client/prospect meetings.
Have your team members closely monitor their health, stay home and take care of themselves if not feeling well, and seek medical care as appropriate. If they believe they may have been exposed to coronavirus, through travel to a high-risk area or close contact with someone who has, urge them to take precautions to protect themselves and others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following:
• Frequently clean hands with soap and water or a 60% (or greater) alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are unavailable.
• Cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue when coughing and sneezing.
• Avoid close contact with anyone who has a fever and cough.
• If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care and share previous travel history with your healthcare provider.
Please be sure to utilize the 24/7 Nurse lines available through your medical carrier. Do you have access to virtual care (telemedicine)? If not, please contact your client team to review options. Remind your team members that they can receive most, if not all, of their maintenance medications by mail. For those with global travel insurance:
• Out of Country Medical will cover COVID-19 while employees are traveling outside of their home country. Once they go back home, there is no coverage under your Business Travel Accident insurance, and they should use their regular medical insurance at that time.
• AD&D does not apply if a death occurs due to COVID-19, as there is no accident.
• There is no coverage under Security Evacuation as these travel policies have exclusions for pandemics.
• Trip Cancellation coverage will vary across the policies depending on the specific rider and language within the policy – neither carrier can blanketly say there is coverage or not.
We will continue to monitor the updates that are provided by the CDC and WHO and will keep you updated as a result.
Finally, we recommend following the situation at the CDC’s website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
If you are planning international travel, either personal or for work, please visit: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel.
Lastly, there’s an expanded FAQ around travel and COVID-19 published by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/faqs.html.