Coronavirus: How risky is a stay in hotels?
Current information on the risk of infection with COVID-19 in hotels
“Since the outbreak of the Corona virus in January 2020, we have been increasingly asked whether a trip to hotels is still safe and secure. Basically, the risk of infection with the COVID-19 virus naturally varies by destination and intensity of possible local sources of infection. While travel currently appears particularly risky in Asia, the situation in Europe seems currently more relaxed. The reports of corona infections in northern Italy, Austria and Germany are currently omnipresent in the media. With daily updates, we try to summarize the information on the coronavirus as objectively and neutrally as possible. As hotel experts, we also compile individually researched information through direct, intensive communication with hoteliers.”
Special attributes of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Based on current scientific analysis, the coronavirus is particularly dangerous for humans based on the following attributes. According to the latest evaluations, the incubation period is around 14 days. In contrast to many other virus classes, the COVID-19 virus can already be transmitted with high intensity during the incubation period. This period is the duration of time in which people already carry the coronavirus without showing any symptoms of a disease. This means that although a person feels completely healthy, they can already be infected with the coronavirus and infect other people. In many cases, the coronavirus is diagnosed only after a patient has become ill and shows clear symptoms. Only then is a patient isolated and usually referred to a quarantine ward. In most cases, it will be then already too late, as during the apparently “healthy period” of the incubation many people can be already infected. The coronavirus mutation COVID-19 is particularly dangerous due to the long incubation period and the high infection intensity. After the onset of the symptoms of the disease, however, the mode of transmission is increased to a particularly large extent by common viral transmission routes such as coughing, sneezing, blowing nose and further “exchange of body fluids” in the broadest sense. However, the exact ways of transmitting the coronavirus have not yet been fully researched.
Overview: Coronavirus infections by country
Cases of coronavirus infections in Italy
The coronavirus cases in Europe are most widespread in Italy, especially Northern Italy. Italy’s prime minister has to keep announcing bad news these days: more and more coronavirus infections, deaths, restricted areas, warnings of significant economic losses. Giuseppe Conte wants to spread a happy message around the world: “It is safe to travel and do tourism in Italy”, the head of government announced on February 25, 2020. “Italy is a safe country: much safer than others.” Whether in Venice, Milan, South Tyrol or Sicily: hoteliers all over the country are suffering from cancellations. The Association of Italian Travel and Tourism Association estimates the short-term cancellation rate at around 70 percent. A German vacationer from Baden-Württemberg tested positive for the coronavirus on February 27, 2020. The man had previously spent his skiing holidays in Val Gardena in South Tyrol, reports Alto Adige online. 1694 corona infections have been reported in Italy, of whom 34 have died.
Coronavirus in Spain
Spain is currently making headlines worldwide with a hotel in Tenerife, approximately 1,000 guests had to be quarantined after a corona case. As the news spread, Minister of Commerce and Tourism Reyes Maroto said on 25.02.20: “Spain is a safe destination”, the number of cases is still low and the health system is “the best in the world.” Tourism is the most important sector of the Spanish economy with a 15 percent share. So far, 84 coronavirus infections have been registered in Spain, fortunately no one has died yet.
COVID-19 infections in France
France, the nation with the most international visitors, is experiencing a slump in the tourism segment. Between 30 and 40 percent fewer tourists than expected are currently in the country, says Economics and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire. “Of course, this has important consequences for the French economy.” Tourism provides around ten percent of the gross domestic product and more than three million jobs. 130 coronavirus cases are already known in France, of which 2 are already dead.
Coronavirus infections in Germany
130 coronavirus infections have already been registered in Germany, fortunately no deaths as of now. The spread of the coronavirus currently seems to be focusing on North Rhine-Westphalia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. As described above, the incubation time of the corona virus is around 14 days. During this time, people with no health problems or symptoms can transmit the coronavirus and infect others. When the “hosts” travel to other regions, the viral spread to other parts of Germany is unfortunately very likely. In most cases, a diagnosis of the coronavirus is probably only made after the “onset of disease”. In many cases, a corona test will only be carried out after clear symptoms. Since the symptoms of the disease are initially similar to those of a cold or a flu-like infection (caused, for example, by the influenza virus), many infected people will probably refrain from a corona test. This means, that the undetermined number of total coronavirus infections could unfortunately be very high.
Corona virus in Austria
The coronavirus has already reached the Austrian capital. A 72-year-old from Vienna has been infected with the COVID-19 pathogen and is now in a hospital in the Austrian metropolis. The man had probably been on vacation in Italy before. So far, there were only infection cases known in the state of Tyrol in Austria. The Austrian authorities have lifted the quarantine measures imposed on a coronavirus case for a hotel in Innsbruck. After tests on 62 employees and guests, the “Grand Hotel Europa” was no longer closed, said the authorities in Tyrol on February 26, 2020. All of those examined are doing well, but nine of them had been brought to an isolated location “for safety reasons”. They were in close contact with a hotel receptionist who was infected with the corona virus. The woman, who comes from Italy, and her partner are in quarantine in the Innsbruck hospital. Both had been tested positive for the coronavirus, but already no longer have a fever. These are the first two cases of the novel coronavirus in Austria. Meanwhile, a total of 14 coronavirus cases are registered in Austria.
Coronavirus in the Maldives
Maldivian authorities have suspended flights to and from mainland China since January 30, 2020, according to current information issued by the Federal Foreign Office of the Maldives. This is a safety measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus in the Maldives. Increased entry controls to identify sick travelers should be expected in the Maldives. On February 26, 2020, the Maldives Minister of Health, Abdulla Ameen, announced the following entry bans: All cruise ships are now prohibited from entering the Maldives territory or from mooring in a port. An entry ban also applies to people who have recently visited Iran or South Korea. All direct flight connections between mainland China and the Maldives have already been cut (see above). Around 280,000 Chinese visited the Maldives in 2019, so the Maldives tourism sector is heavily dependent on Chinese tourists. Minister Ameen said that the Maldives did not register a positive case of the virus so far, but the government treats all suspected cases with caution. He stressed that the government continued its 14-day quarantine process and continued screening for the virus according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). There are currently no known cases of coronavirus infection in the Maldives, however, infections cannot be ruled out due to the 14-day incubation period.
Coronavirus in the Seychelles
The authorities of the Seychelles have banned the following groups of people from entering the country: Anyone who has visited mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea or Italy in the past 14 days will be refused entry to the Seychelles. This also applies when entering the Republic of the Seychelles by ship. The spread of the respiratory disease COVID-19 (coronavirus) leads to increased entry controls in the Seychelles, health checks with temperature measurements, and in individual cases also entry bans. There are currently no known cases of infection in the Seychelles, however, the long incubation period of 14 days means that a viral chain of infection without symptoms is also possible in the Seychelles.
Reactions of hoteliers to the coronavirus
A hotelier from Austria plans to inform all guests of strict hygiene regulations after check-in. A minimum distance to other guests of at least one meter should be maintained. This regulation was advised by the WHO. Guests are also asked not to use whirlpools at the same time with other guests, if possible. Guests with symptoms of illness should stay in the room and call a doctor via the reception desk.
Source: Hotelier from Austria / Wellness Heaven
Source: Hotelier from the Seychelles / Wellness Heaven
Source: Hotelier from Germany / Wellness Heaven
Source: Hotelier from Italy / Wellness Heaven
Source: Hotelier from Italy / Wellness Heaven
Source: Hotelier from the Maldives / Wellness Heaven
-A Maldivian luxury hotelier, on the other hand, only reports positively on the coronavirus. A family from Milan in Italy has been staying since mid-February in the hotel in the Maldives – and has since extended the stay twice. The family still refuses to return to Milan – using the Maldivian resort as a luxurious “quarantine island”.
Source: Hotelier from the Maldives / Wellness Heaven
Case numbers of all affected countries
Current case numbers via Johns Hopkins CSSE and Coronatracker. Scientific publication on coronavirus transmission during the incubation period.
Last updated: 02.03.20.
How can I protect myself from being infected?
The WHO recommends the following measures to contain COVID-19, which also protect against the common cold and flu viruses:
- Wash and disinfect hands regularly,
- Keep away at least by one meter from coughing, sneezing people,
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands,
- Wear a breathing mask (at least FFP2 class) if you have symptoms yourself, or cough in the elbow,
- Ventilate rooms regularly,
- Clean surfaces in the vicinity of sick people with disinfectants that carry the “limited virucidal plus” or “virucidal” label.
How do I know that I am infected?
One problem with the novel coronavirus (also called Sars-CoV-2) is that the symptoms are not specific, but rather are similar to those of a cold or flu. Symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat or fever are typical. Some also suffer from diarrhea. “Most sufferers report fever,” said WHO expert Bruce Aylward after returning from a week-long trip to the affected areas in China. “Many also have a dry cough, only a few have a runny nose.” In severe cases of the disease, there are also breathing problems and pneumonia.
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