Image via Flickr user Matthew Hurst
Based on the number of inconsiderate neighbours breeding mosquitoes in the potted plants on their HDB balconies, Singaporeans aren’t that afraid of dengue fever.
But when it comes to the zika virus, people are a lot more wary. There may not have been any confirmed cases of zika virus infection in Singapore to date, but the horror stories of a purported link between zika virus infection and birth defects have made people sit up and take notice.
But based on the exclusions travel insurance companies typically insert, here are some things you should know.
The main risks of a zika virus infection
The problem with the zika virus is that you have it without exhibiting any symptoms. Heck, for all you know, all of us could be infected right know without even knowing it.
When you travel, your main concerns about the zika virus should be:
- Coming down with symptoms and needing to seek medical treatment.
- Now, where things get more serious is if you or your partner are pregnant, and the zika virus results in a birth defect.
- You might choose to cancel or change the dates of your trip to avoid the zika virus.
What does your travel insurance cover?
Never assume your travel insurer will cover every possible mishap under the sun.
- You are usually not allowed to make any pregnancy or childbirth-related claims.
- You will not be covered when travelling overseas against medical or government advice.
- Cancelling or changing your travel plans.
- Medical expenses overseas.
Where are the affected countries?
In case you’re about to book your next big holiday and want to avoid locations experiencing zika virus outbreaks or transmissions, here’s the list from NEA as of 27 Jan 2016:
- Countries experiencing outbreaks: Brazil, Cape Verde, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras, Martinique, Panama, Suriname
- Countries with local transmission or exported cases: Barbados, Bolivia, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guayana, Haiti, Mexico, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Samoa, Thailand, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela
What are some airlines, cruiselines and hotels doing in response?
Some airlines, cruiselines, hotels and travel companies are allowing travellers to change their travel plans free of charge or offering refunds in light of the zika virus issue.
The list of companies that have done so include United Airlines, JetBlue, American Airlines, British Airways and Delta Airlines. If you’re scheduled to fly or are about to book your tickets, call up the airline and ask about their policies. Some will require a doctor’s letter before they’ll let you rebook or cancel.
Hotel chains may be willing to offer cancellation waivers as well, although these are rarely articulated officially. Hilton claims it will be doing so on a case-by-base basis. When in doubt, it’s best to check before making a booking.
In all honesty, if you’ve already booked a trip and are not a pregnant lady, it’s probably more worthwhile to safeguard against being bitten by mosquitoes than it is to go nuts over the news reports.
by Joanne Poh
See Full Story at news.asiaone.com