How will the Coronavirus Impact Travellers?

March 5, 2020 | CAA Niagara


Last updated: March 5, 2020

For the latest updates from the Government of Canada on travel advice and advisories to China, please visit

As awareness continues to grow about the outbreak of the Coronavirus, first discovered in Wuhan, China, so has concern towards how this may impact travel to, or within, Asia. 

At this time, health agencies maintain that the overall risk to Canadians is low, however it is important to understand travel precautions. The latest updates and information can be found on the Government of Canada’s website  including a list of Frequently Asked Questions. As new information becomes available, the Public Health Agency of Canada continues to assess the health risk.

What steps can travellers take to protect themselves?

Leading health authorities, including the World Health Organization, are urging the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season, such as the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who show signs of illness, including coughing or
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands and wash your hands frequently 
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and
    water are not available

The World Health Organization has published a comprehensive guide to reduce risk of exposure to, and transmission of a range of respiratory illnesses. 

We recommend that you check for any travel restrictions that may impact your trip before you travel:

How will the Coronavirus will affect your travel insurance if you are currently travelling or planning to travel to China in the upcoming months?

My trip to China is booked for next week. Can I cancel it and be reimbursed for non-refundable travel expenses?

A: As of January 29, 2020, Global Affairs Canada travel advisory to avoid non-essential travel has been issued for China. If you have trip cancellation & interruption insurance, and can’t return home on your scheduled return date, you may be eligible for reimbursement of non-refundable, pre-paid travel expenses. Check your policy for “New and unexpected travel advisory from Global Affairs Canada” for more details.

In all cases, review your coverage and get clarification on your insurance benefits by contacting your travel insurance provider. It is important to confirm your travel insurance benefits, as each policy differs. 

Now that I've learned about this new virus, is it too late to buy trip cancellation and interruption for my upcoming trip to Asia?

A: If you’re buying trip cancellation & interruption insurance now because of the possibility that you may need to cancel your trip due to the outbreak of the virus, your coverage may be affected.

It’s always best to consider travel insurance when you’re in the process of making your travel plans to protect yourself and your travel investment.

I am in an area of China that has just become quarantined. Is there a benefit to cover my early return?

A: Travel medical insurance: There is no benefit to help return you home early.
If you purchased Trip cancellation & interruption insurance, prior to the Government of Canada advisory: Yes, in this case you may be eligible to submit expenses related to returning home early.  

Contact your airline and the Canadian consulate to find out if there are any flight options available to you to leave the country. 

I’m in China and have been diagnosed with the Coronavirus or have been to an affected area and cannot fly home on my return date. Does my travel insurance cover any of the extra expenses?

A: Yes, in most cases your travel insurance may offer coverage for the medical expenses and any extra hotel and transportation costs you may incur if your doctor says you aren’t able to travel home on your scheduled return date.

Make sure to get as much documentation as possible from the medical facility and keep all your receipts. If your return home is delayed, you will need documentation from the treating physician in addition to your receipts.

Before you depart, make sure you have travel insurance.

As before all travel, it is recommended to purchase comprehensive travel insurance1 before leaving Ontario. Review your coverage and speak with a CAA Travel Expert if you have questions about your policy. 

If you have questions on your travel insurance benefits, please contact CAA Assistance2 for help at: 1-888-672-3651. Call collect from outside Canada and the U.S: 1-519-988-7044.

1CAA Travel Insurance is underwritten by Orion Travel Insurance Company, a CAA Company. Certain exclusions, limitations and restrictions apply. Medical Questionnaire may be required. 

2CAA Assistance is provided by Active Care Management Inc.


Tags: Travel, Family, Travel Insurance, cruising, health, cruise, March break, destination wedding, CAA Travel

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