Sunday, 8 March 2020

Travelling During The Coronavirus (COVID 19) Outbreak.

This coronavirus (COVID19) pandermic is a real dampener especially for someone like me who really loves to travel. It appeared from thin air wreaking havoc firstly in China and now spreading to almost all parts of the world. Though the pandermic started in early December, it was only highlighted to the world much later in January. I realised the seriousness of the disease only around the end of January by which time I had arranged three oversea tours, departing one in February, one in March and one in May. Adoi, there's quite a lot of money at stake for cancellation at this juncture so I was pondering "To go or not to go?" 

I managed to get a full refund for my March tour for which I am thankful but I stood to lose a substantial sum for my February trip as by then it was too late to make cancellation without total forfeiture. My travelling partner decided not to go even though I could sense her heartache having to lose all the deposits. I understood her situation as she has just returned from a seminar in China in mid January and one of her discussion group members has been tested positive for Corona Virus. Even though she was negative, that incident must have given her a real scare. She didn't want to be subject to any risk again and hence her decision to abandon the trip losing the full payment that she has made. 

No one in his or her sound mind would initiate any leisure travel plan in the midst of  a pandemic like this but I decided to go ahead. I rationalized my decision based on some Mathematical probabilities at the time of my departure. Just before my flight to Vietnam on 22 Feb 2020, there were only 22 Covid cases in Malaysia, out of which 20 were imported and only 2 were Malaysians. The probability of a Malaysian getting infected was 0.00000006325 based on the approximate current population. This figure include all Malaysians who are not travelling as well but considering only those who have taken flights around that period, the probability though larger is still very insignificant. At that point of time there has been thousands who have holidayed and come back from overseas and have not been reported down with the disease. Furthermore the number of Covid cases in my travel destination was rather contained. I am not a diehard but in life one has to take calculated risk sometimes so keeping my fingers crossed, I decided to go and enjoy every cent already paid for the trip. LOL.
To be frank I am quite afraid of the virus. The thought of being in a plane's confined space, sharing recycled air with strangers you knew not about their health background with regard to the mentioned disease is far from comforting. The possibility of touching contaminated surfaces (the seat, the tray, the door knob. the sink and tap of tiny toilet cubicles) if ever they were to be contaminated is quite high. 
Prior to the trip, face mask and hand sanitizers were entirely sold out in all the pharmacies and shops in town. I managed to gather sufficient for my use, thanks to my husband who took the extra miles to hunt for this 'hard to find' commodity in outskirt shops.I managed to buy 2 bottles of alcohol based sanitizer online and dettol wet-wipes before the trip. Never before have I been so diligent in washing my hands throughout the journey and abiding by the strict rule, "Never rub the eyes or touch the face". 
As expected the fully booked flight was half empty. I had a three-seat row all to myself. The 3 seats across the aisle was also empty. It was a real relief to escape a jam-packed flight. 
Some places of attractions were quite crowded. I recognised the nationalities of the tourist by the languages they spoke. During the trip, I brushed shoulder with Koreans, Taiwanese, Thais, many Westerners but there was an obvious diminished presence of China nationals. Regardless, everyone became a suspect which I find humorous indeed. In this situation, having an entire cable car to yourself is a bliss. 

More than the fear of contracting the disease is the fear of being quarantined. I am glad i didn't have to go through all that. When I came home from my trip, I did a self-confinement in a vacant house, to be fair to my family. It's past 2 weeks now and I can safely declare myself "healthy".

I have another trip in May. I'll decide then what to do. To go or not to go?


Unknown said...

You are brave.

Lily... said...

Am I?

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