CNH Tours - Cultural and Natural Heritage Tours Galapagos
Sunday March 1, 2020
COVID-19: Should Galapagos bound travellers be concerned?
COVID-19 is making more headlines. After Italy reported a big number of cases a week ago and with the headline-making news of the stock market correction, the disease seems to have finally captured popular attention in Europe and the Americas.
So, what's the story re: traveling to Galapagos? What's the risk?
To help understand that risk, we attach the infographic below. It shows the relative impact of COVID-19 in the USA as of a few days ago, compared to the impact of the flu (influenza). The infographic is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It's already a bit dated, as the numbers for COVID-19 will certanily change in the days ahead.
But unless things change in a massive way, the infographic's message is very clear: "Be much more concerned about the flu than about COVID-19". Even in China, after 2.5 months, COVID-19 numbers (cases of the disease and mortality) are absolutely dwarfed by the USA influenza numbers.
Another development involves the reporting of the first cases of COVID-19 in Ecuador. It's clear that the virus continues to spread and that most countries reporting no cases so far either have undetected cases, or will soon be detecting some.
The government of Ecuador is reporting that detection measures are being implemented at airports (both for international arrivals and for arrivals in Galapagos), using hand-held monitors of high body temperature. While CNH Tours applauds this measure, we also realize that not all carriers show symptoms and for that reason, this measure will only help spot potential cases in which symptoms have developped. But it shows that the government is taking things seriously.
In conclusion, based on the information provided above, and for the foreseeable future, the risks of contracting the disease remains very small. At CNH Tours, we recommend the following course of action: "Keep calm, wash your hands, and carry on!". We recommend taking along a bottle of hand sanitizer as a precautionary measure. These bottles have been around ever since the SARS outbreak in 2003 - it remains good practice to use them.