Coronavirus Information for Volunteering Abroad – Updated 16th March 2020
The spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) is a worldwide concern at the moment, and has been receiving extensive media coverage as the virus has had reported cases in more countries in Asia & Europe. The safety of our volunteers and the communities where our volunteer projects are based is our top priority, and so we have created this guide with resources for anyone considering travelling abroad to minimise health risks and make an informed decision about their travel. This post will also be regularly updated as the situation develops based on the latest WHO advice.
The WHO has been providing daily updates on the virus, which can be found on their website; https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/events-as-they-happen
As of 16th March, many nations across the globe have closed their borders to tourists for 2 weeks or longer in order to reduce the spread of the virus. Therefore, many of our volunteer project destinations are on hold at the moment. We are continuing to actively monitor the situation together with our local partners and provide advice to any volunteers affected. If you are currently booked on a volunteer project, or are planning to join a project, please contact us for the latest advice, as the situation is rapidly changing and travel restrictions vary between countries.
We also have some general tips for people travelling (and at home) to keep vigilant;
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and carry hand sanitizer
- On flights, open your air vent to blow away stale air
- Stay home (self-isolate) if you are sick or if you display any flu-like symptoms after travelling
- Consider using a face mask on public transport in busy areas
- Carry disinfectant wipes to wipe down surfaces, such as plane trays, armrests and handles
This is a map which can be used follow the situation, created by a university in the US: https://gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6
For information on countries and territories which have COVID-19 related border restrictions affecting foreign nationals (some of which may affect travellers in transit), please see the International Air Transport Association website before you travel.
Please also see this link for the UK government’s latest advice on what to do when returning home from affected countries: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public#returning-travellers
Please note this advice is all given as a general guide, and because medical and travel recommendations differ from country to country and personal circumstances, we recommend you consult relevant WHO or CDC advice as well.