Anyone that has read Stephen King’s novel The Stand is concerned about the Coronavirus. The very real Coronavirus has similarities to the fictional Captain Trips. The infection was airborne and highly contagious. In the novel, within a few weeks the illness spread and 90% of the world’s population was gone. The Coronavirus has originated in Asia, then moved on to Europe and it is reported to be surfacing in North America. What is eerie about this situation for me is that my travels have put me one step ahead of the Coronavirus.
Coronavirus Origination in Asia
I first heard about the Coronavirus through a friend on Facebook. At the time I was in Seoul, South Korea and I was getting ready to fly to Tokyo for two weeks. I have been so focused on my own work I had neglected to watch or read the world news while on my travels.
My two weeks in Tokyo was interesting. As I walked around the city, it seemed every other person was wearing a surgical mask. Right after I left Japan, the cruise ship Diamond Princess was quarantined at Yokohama. This ship had 3,711 passengers on board with an estimated 600 persons were infected with the virus.
The Virus Comes to Europe
I was screened for symptoms upon my arrival in Naples, Italy. A member of the Italian Red Cross held a temperature gun to my forehead. After my temperature was declared in the normal range I was permitted to get in line for immigration. On February 16th, I left Italy for England. An outbreak was reported in Northern Italy a few days later.
I just attended the Business Travel Show in London this week. This virus and the impact it will have on the travel industry was mentioned in several conferences. It has affected the travel industry as a whole as consumers have cancelled trips or are putting off their travel plans until this blows over. A press trip that I was planning to Egypt in March has been postponed due to this virus.
I am currently staying in the UK for the next six months. Every day I watch the BBC and get updates on this virus. The travel industry is definitely going to take a hit. Let’s hope things get back to normal soon. It would be a shame if the world was left unexplored.