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Coronavirus Travel Update

by Hannah Lockett | January 22, 2020

Update 16 March 2020

Following Foreign Office Advice all our tours are suspended between 16 March and 15 April 2020

Please note – our operations team are extremely busy calling all passengers, in departure date order, to discuss travel options. Please do not call us unless you are due to travel in the next 14 days.

Booking Conditions: Given the extreme impact of Covid-19 on all destinations around the world we have updated our Booking Conditions.

Who to Contact and When:
Contact Us: If you are travelling in the next 14 days so we can advise on whether your tour will be going ahead or is likely to be cut short (curtailed).
We will Contact You: If you are due to travel on a tour that has been suspended. We will contact you in the order in which the departure dates fall. We ask for your patience at this extraordinary time.
Do Not Call: If you are due to travel from 01 July 2020. We are experiencing large call volumes and it is essential that we support and help clients travelling in the near future. We will be contacting all customers on a priority basis depending on the departure date of the tour you are booked on.
We do thank you for your patience at this exceptionally busy time.
Credit Voucher: Your Credit Voucher is your Links Travel and Tours Invoice. When we contact you we will issue a revised invoice which will show your Credit Voucher equivalent to 100% of your current payment. The Credit Voucher is not transferable to another traveller and cannot be exchanged for cash.
Refunds: Links Travel and Tours is not offering any refunds if you wish to cancel. We will hold the money you have paid in good faith as a Credit Voucher and applied to a future booking within 12 months of the original departure.

Update 11 March 2020

Travel to Maldives

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all but essential travel to Kuredu, Vilemendhu, Batalaa and Kuramathi Island Resorts. There have been confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Maldives. The Kuredu, Vilemendhu, Batalaa and Kuramathi Island Resorts have all been placed under temporary quarantine. If you have upcoming travel plans in these resorts, we will contact you with more information.

The Government of Maldives is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

ABTA  Advice

ABTA has issued the following advice for travellers, which will answer many questions you may have. Click Here

Links to the World Health Organisation, and the FCO updates for the destinations we work with can be found on our 28 February 2020 Update further down the page.

10:15 am, Wednesday 1th March 2020

Update 10 March 2020

Travel to China

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Hubei Province and all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong and Macao), and the Chinese authorities have imposed various control and quarantine measures across the country. It is worth noting that the situation in China is improving daily, with fewer cases being reported and we are expecting the restrictions to be eased, and our China tours to resume in April.

Travel to Japan

There are enhanced quarantine procedures at entry points to Japan such as airports and ports. The authorities may carry out extended health checks on arrival including compulsory hospitalisation. You will need to comply with any additional screening measures by the authorities if asked to go through extra checks.

Although the Government of Japan has requested that all primary and secondary schools close until their regular spring holidays at the end of March, this is a preventative measure to ensure that all is as safe as possible, and people can still enjoy the Cherry Blossom season. Some museums and attractions have closed, but our tour leaders are organising alternative options as and when applicable. A few places require visitors to wear masks, so so it is advised that you buy a supply to take with you. It is worth noting that most places remain open, and life continues as normal. Our  Discover Japan by Rail tour flew out on 2nd March and are enjoying their time in the country.

Travel to Vietnam

The Vietnamese government has suspended the visa waiver programme for UK citizens with effect of 12 March 2020 until further notice.

The Vietnamese authorities are implementing extensive steps to mitigate the risks of infection, including health screening at airports and land borders. People showing signs of respiratory illness on arrival, those who have travelled from an area with confirmed cases or those that have come in to contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus will be checked and may be quarantined. You will need to comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities. The Vietnamese government has recommended that citizens wear masks in public, so it is advised that you buy a supply to take with you. However, it is worth noting that due to the preventative measures taken by the Vietnamese government, the number of cases remains very low, and life in Vietnam continues with shops, restaurants, and attractions remaining open.

Travel to Cambodia and Laos

There are very few instances, if any, of coronavirus in these countries and you are asked to comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities to ensure that this remains the case. All the sights, attractions, shops and restaurants remain open and are welcoming visitors.

Travel to Sri Lanka

The Sri Lankan Government is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the virus. Travellers arriving from, or having travelled through, Italy, South Korea, and Iran are subject to additional health screening at the airport, although the list of countries is under daily review and can change. Colombo airport authorities have announced that only passengers will be allowed onto the airport premises. Other than this life continues as normal, with shops, restaurants, and attractions open to visitors.

Returning Travellers

Travellers returning to the UK should consult the latest advice from the Department of Health and Social Care on actions to take, by Clicking Here

 

If you are planning a trip for later in the year, don’t let the coronavirus outbreak now disrupt your plans. Southeast Asia and the Far East are wonderful areas to explore, and we can help you do this as safely as possible.

Please feel free to contact us should you want further reassurance.

15:35 pm, Tuesday 10th March 2020

Update - 28 February 2020

Current Situation

On Friday January 31st, the World Health Organisation (WHO) designated the Coronavirus outbreak a Global Emergency.  This sounds quite alarming, but the reason for doing this was to release funds which “allows the WHO to support lower- and middle-income countries to strengthen their disease surveillance – and prepare them for cases”.

Coronavirus in China

The daily number of new cases in China (outside of Hubei Province), is getting fewer each day, implying that the situation is improving. All clients due to travel in March have been contacted with the options available to them. All our tours to China beyond March 2020 are currently planned to operate as normal.

Coronavirus in Japan and Vietnam

There have been a few hundred cases confirmed in Japan which, relative to the population of 126 million, is very low and therefore the subsequent risk of transmission is also very low. You may have heard about schools and a few attractions, such as Disneyland and Universal Studios closing, but this is a purely preventative measure in the run up to the start of the Cherry Blossom season and then the Summer Olympics. However, it is worth noting that most attractions remain open, as do shops and businesses.

The Vietnamese health ministry reported on Tuesday 25th February that 16 people in the country infected with coronavirus had been cured, with no new cases recorded for nearly two weeks.

If you are due to travel with us to Japan or Vietnam during March, April, and May, you should go ahead as planned. They are still considered safe to travel to but you should take enhanced precautions such as regular washing of hands and use of hand sanitizer gel.

World Health Organisation Updates

The WHO has a section on its website solely dedicated to the coronavirus, and they publish daily situation reports which you can read by Clicking Here.

They also have advice for the public Here, and travel advice Here.

Foreign & Commonwealth Travel Advice

The UK government regularly updates its travel advice, which can be found via the following links:

China Travel Advice

Japan Travel Advice

Vietnam Travel Advice

Cambodia Travel Advice

Laos Travel Advice

Sri Lanka Travel Advice

Maldives Travel Advice

If you are planning a trip for later in the year, don’t let the coronavirus outbreak now disrupt your plans. Southeast Asia and the Far East are wonderful areas to explore, and we can help you do this as safely as possible.

Please feel free to contact us should you want further reassurance.

16:00 pm, Friday 28th February 2020

Update - 24 February 2020

February and, March Departures

All clients due to travel in February and March have been contacted with the options available to them. All our tours to China beyond March 2020 are currently planned to operate as normal.

April & May Departures

We are happy to waive any Links Travel & Tours amendment fees if you wish to move your tour to a later date or book a different tour with us.

However, you will need to pay any difference in tour costs and flight amendment fees. If you wish to cancel, standard cancellation fees will apply.

Should we be unable to offer your chosen tour (due to the FCO travel advice remaining unchanged or the major sights being closed), we will contact you three weeks before your planned departure date. You will then be able to cancel your booking free of charge. We will, of course, endeavour to help you make arrangements for an alternative tour should you wish.

June Onwards

If you wish to amend or cancel your booking, standard terms and conditions apply as detailed in your booking confirmation.

Our passengers’ health and wellbeing is our top priority, and we continue to carefully monitor this situation.

 

Please feel free to contact us should you want further reassurance.

09:20 am, Monday 24th February 2020

Update - 20 February 2020

February and March Departures

All clients due to travel in February and March have been contacted with the options available to them. All our tours to China beyond March 2020 are currently planned to operate as normal.

April & May Departures

We are happy to waive any Links Travel & Tours amendment fees if you wish to move your tour to a later date or book a different tour with us.

However, you will need to pay any difference in tour costs and flight amendment fees. If you wish to cancel, standard cancellation fees will apply.

Should we be unable to offer your chosen tour (due to the FCO travel advice remaining unchanged or the major sights being closed), we will contact you three weeks before your planned departure date. You will then be able to cancel your booking free of charge. We will, of course, endeavour to help you make arrangements for an alternative tour should you wish.

June Onwards

If you wish to amend or cancel your booking, standard terms and conditions apply as detailed in your booking confirmation.

Our passengers’ health and wellbeing is our top priority, and we continue to carefully monitor this situation.

 

Please feel free to contact us should you want further reassurance.

15:55 pm, Thursday 20th February 2020

Update - 10 February 2020

February & March Departures

All clients due to travel in February & March have been contacted with the options available to them. All our tours to China beyond 31 March are currently planned to operate as normal.

April & May Departures

We are happy to waive any Links Travel & Tours amendment fees if you wish to move your tour to a later date or book a different tour with us.

However, you will need to pay any difference in tour costs and flight amendment fees. If you wish to cancel, standard cancellation fees will apply.

Should we be unable to offer your chosen tour (due to the FCO travel advice remaining unchanged or the major sights being closed), we will contact you three weeks before your planned departure date. You will then be able to cancel your booking free of charge. We will, of course, endeavour to help you make arrangements for an alternative tour should you wish.

June Onwards

If you wish to amend or cancel your booking, standard terms and conditions apply as detailed in your booking confirmation.

Our passengers’ health and wellbeing is our top priority, and we continue to carefully monitor this situation.

 

Please feel free to contact us should you want further reassurance.

14:55 pm, Monday 10th February 2020

Update - 29 January 2020

We understand that travellers are concerned about their planned holidays to China. At the moment the UK Government has advised against all but essential travel to mainland China – and against all travel to Hubei Province – due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The advice does not extend Hong Kong and Macao.

This advice is for those intending to travel to China now. It is changing daily and we fully expect this to change again, ie lifting the mainland China travel advice, in the next few days.

We are in the process of contacting everyone who is travelling to China in February, with the options available for them, and will contact those travelling later, should the travel restrictions be extended.

We want to reassure you that we take the health and well being of those holidaying with Links Travel & Tours extremely seriously, but please feel free to contact us should you want further reassurance.

09:50 am, Wednesday 29 January 2020

Update - 24 January 2020

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice remains unchanged.

Links Travel & Tours currently have no customers travelling in or to China. Clients due to travel to China in the next few months are advised to continue with their plans but are welcome to contact the company for reassurance if they are worried. Should the advice from the government change at any point, Links Travel & Tours will immediately notify all those concerned.

 

09:18 am, Friday 24 January 2020

Update - 23 January 2020

The FCO has changed the level of advice regarding Wuhan city, Hubei Province in China. The FCO now advise against all but essential travel to Wuhan city, Hubei Province. The applicable extract is as follows:

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Wuhan city, Hubei Province. This is due to the ongoing novel coronavirus outbreak. Public Health England has offered advice to travellers. You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the local authorities. For more information and advice, visit the TravelHealthPro website. See Health For more information and advice, visit the TravelHealthPro website. See Health

The full FCO travel advice for China can be accessed via this link
https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/china

There are no other travel restrictions in place for China.

Links Travel & Tours avoids the areas most affected. Our local Guides are aware of the problems and will give all the advice needed our clients are in China.

 

09:06 am, Thursday 23 January 2020

Statement - 22 January 2020

Links Travel & Tours is keeping a close eye on the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China. Our team in Beijing has reported that the national and local governments are taking appropriate measures to control the spread of the virus and the passage of travellers in an out of China. Other countries such as Thailand, Japan, and South Korea, where cases have been reported, have introduced health screening at airports to monitor and control the situation.

The health and safety of our clients is our top priority. For now, we are monitoring the situation closely and will wait and see what the UK government and World Health Organisation advice for travellers is, and act accordingly.

We are keen to reassure our clients that we are constantly monitoring the situation in China and the other countries in Asia that have been affected. We will act on the advice of the UK Government, but for the moment all travellers should continue with their planned holidays to China.

None of our Links Travel & Tours holidays travel to or through Wuhan city, but we advise that anyone who has booked a holiday with us and is worried should contact us for reassurance.

 

12:27 pm, Wednesday 22 January 2020

We’re here to listen to your needs so if you need to chat, then why not email us or pick up the phone, we will be happy to help.