[This blog is updated regularly; however, the situation can change at any time.]
With the World Health Organisation (WHO) officially declaring the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic, we’re doing everything we can to adapt to this fast-paced and ever-changing situation. However, we understand your concerns, and we can assure you that your safety always comes first.
Our experienced operations teams in our destinations are making arrangements and ensuring the safety of our volunteers and those who’ve booked to join us.
Due to the recent increase in travel restrictions across the globe, we strongly advise all current and potential volunteers to postpone their trips until 1 June 2020 at the earliest. We believe that this is the most sensible way to keep everyone safe and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If you’ve already booked to join us, then we’ll contact you. If you’re still thinking about joining, please contact us. One of our Project Experts will explain your options and offer advice.
We continue to receive questions from upcoming travellers about the impact of the Coronavirus on their projects and international travel.
“We understand the worry in association with the recent Coronavirus outbreak, however, I want to assure you that you’re in great hands with us. The health and safety of our volunteers and interns is always our top priority. We’re in constant contact with the WHO, FCO and local embassies globally, and our staff receive daily updates and health advice. With this information, we adjust our safety strategies if necessary as well as keep you informed if anything changes.
With unforeseen situations like these, we believe in the importance of flexibility. We’ve relaxed our terms and conditions and waived our amendment fees for all first-time changes. This means, if you have any hesitations or the advice of local authorities change, you can change your dates, project or destinations without any administration fees. We want you to have total peace of mind about your project and safety.”
- Greg Thomson, CEO
To ease your concerns, we’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions with our responses below. Please feel free to contact us for more information.
Can I still travel?
Yes, you can still travel. However, we strongly advise you to postpone or book your trip to start after 1 June 2020 due to unexpected travel restrictions that can disrupt your trip.
For those who still want to travel, we’ll continue to monitor updates from the CDC, WHO, and other local health departments around the world. If any new information or advice arises, we'll let you know immediately.
Although travel is not restricted worldwide, we still recommend you follow normal travel safety precautions such as:
- Ensure you receive all the recommended vaccinations before you leave
- Maintain hand hygiene
- If you feel unwell, isolate yourself and contact local medical assistance
- Use hand sanitiser or face masks if in busy areas
Coronavirus can lead to pneumonia and those that have been affected are mostly older people with underlying health issues.
Should you still book a trip with Projects Abroad?
Yes. However, we strongly advise you to book or postpone your project to start after 1 June 2020. This is just an extra precaution, as we’ve seen an increase in travel restrictions across the globe.
Many travel restrictions have been put in place to contain the spread of the virus and ensure your safety. We hope and expect that authorities will have the virus contained soon, and our thoughts are with those affected.
We also take care of your safety in numerous ways while you’re abroad with us, not just during times of crisis. We keep in touch with you every step of the way to keep you safe and informed, from the moment you sign up until you fly back home.
Based on current information regarding this outbreak, and our experience and analysis of previous outbreaks of a similar nature, we currently don’t anticipate that our projects will be affected during summer 2020.
Can I change projects, destinations, or postpone my project?
Yes. For your safety, we strongly recommend you postpone or book your project to start on 1 June 2020 at the earliest. To make this process easier, we’ve relaxed our terms and conditions and waived our amendment fees for all first-time changes. This means that you can change your dates, project, or destinations without any administration fees.
What if I have already booked my flights? Can I change them?
If you’ve booked your flights through us, our expert travel team will be in touch with you.
“All volunteers and interns who’ve booked their flights through us can be assured that our travel department takes every precaution. We keep up-to-date with the latest coronavirus news to pre-empt any possible situations our volunteers might face. The coronavirus has impacted air travel for people all over the world. Because of our expertise and connections with international flight agencies, our travel department is up to speed with the best way forward" - Terri Peters, Senior Travel Consultant
If you’ve booked your flights independently, we advise you to contact your airline. Many airlines aren’t charging a fee for flight changes due to the current circumstance. However, you’ll need to confirm this with your airline directly.
What is Coronavirus?
COVID-19 is a newly identified strain of the coronavirus which is thought to have spread to humans from a live animal market in Wuhan, China. While thousands have been affected by the virus which causes respiratory illnesses, the WHO has now called it a pandemic.
COVID-19 has garnered much attention particularly as it is a new strain of the virus and therefore much has to be learned about its properties, origin and transmission. Dealing with the virus effectively is so challenging because of uncertainty caused by this lack of research.
Where can I find more information
The World Health Organisation has created this informative video to explain what is known about COVID-19, with links to further information in the video description.
The Foreign Commonwealth Office provides up to date information about the UK government’s travel advice for all our destinations.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like any help choosing a project or are concerned about international travel plans you have already made.