At Across South America, as local experts based in Buenos Aires, Argentina we have been monitoring the situation extremely closely. There is no doubt that the news around the coronavirus can be alarming, being on the ground in South America let us know the real situation in the region.
The good news is that South America has no “Affected areas” at the moment, that is countries, provinces, territories or cities experiencing ongoing transmission of the virus. So, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no risk to travel to South America.
South America has some advantages: since it is summer there is no agglomeration of people in closed environments and the density of air exchange is lower than in Europe and the United States. In South America at the moment it is summer, and the infectivity of the virus decreases in high temperatures and high humidity, which is another point in favor.
CDC ( Center for disease control and prevention of USA) provides recommendations on postponing or canceling travel. These are called travel notices and are based on an assessment of the potential health risks involved with traveling to a certain area. According to The CDC notices, they do not recommend canceling or postponing travel to South America because the risk of coronavirus is thought to be low.
The situation as of 3 March 2020
In the Region of South America, only some Imported cases where reported, and all cases have been acquired outside the location of reporting.
A total of eight (9) coronavirus cases have been reported, two (2) from Brazil , one (1) from Argentina and six (6) from Ecuador. To date, no deaths have been reported in the region of South America. All the cases are, Imported cases, all cases have been acquired outside the location of reporting.
How dangerous is the Corona Virus?
Like the flu, according to the PAHO, “As with other respiratory illnesses, the infection can cause mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore thought, cough, and fever. Most people who become infected experience these symptoms. It can be more severe for some persons and can lead no pneumonia or breathing difficulties”
Who is most at risk of becoming seriously ill?
• People over age 60
• People with pre-existing conditions such as diabetes and heart disease
How is it transmitted?
• Through close contact with an infected person
• By an infected person coughing or sneezing
• By touching contaminated objects or surfaces and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes
What is the risk of getting Coronavirus on an airplane?
Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily on airplanes. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, travelers should try to avoid contact with sick passengers and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contain 60%–95% alcohol.
Read More: Exposure Risk During Travel
Where to Get Updated Information
Having answered questions from travelers over the past few days, we realize different people get their news and information from a variety of sources, in some cases, not trustful sources. Make sure you get your information from reliable sources.
Scientists at the WHO and CDC have the up-to-date intel on the virus. They provide information, advice, and if needed, travel restrictions. Rely on their advice at the WHO’s , the PAHO and CDC’s websites.
We hope we have sent some peace of tranquility if you are planning a trip to South America. Unfortunately, we cannot predict the future, and for obvious reasons are not in a position to provide medical advice, but the situation in South America is of total normality.
Thank you for reading!