Health Fitness

Can I cancel my trip to China because of the coronavirus?

Whether in China or elsewhere, you want to cancel your trip because of an epidemic (because you have cancellation insurance)? Forget this idea! This type of insurance rarely covers causes of cancellation outside a person. Fact, cancellation insurance will cover you in the event of a health problem (for you or one of your relatives) or in the event of an event likely to disrupt your daily life. For example: a dismissal, serious damage to your home, a second session, a de facto separation or appointment as a jury juror, etc.

However, some insurers allow you to cancel your trip for free. if a negative travel advisory is posted and you booked the trip before it was advertised. Currently, the travel advice of the FPS Foreign Affairs concerning China is not negative. However, it is “not recommended” to visit Hubei province temporarily. “In addition, compatriots are advised to postpone non-essential trips to other Chinese provinces (except Hong Kong) “, according to the details of the FPS Foreign Affairs.

Good to know: if you decide to go to China anyway (and for that matter no matter where you are going for your next vacation), report your trip via the federal platform TravelersOnline. In the event of a problem, this will allow the FPS Foreign Affairs to contact you more easily to inform you. Or provide you with logistical support if necessary.


Our members tailor their programs to Foreign Affairs travel advice.

Luc Coussement

Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABTO.

Tour operators

In any case, you can contact your tour operator or airline to find out if you can cancel your trip or possibly modify or postpone it. About that, the association of Belgian tour operators (ABTO) announced at the end of January that its members were canceling their trips to China. It is currently the low season As for travel, and for ABTO members, most trips to China are not scheduled until the Easter holidays, she said in a statement.

We follow developments closely (…) and our members adapt their programs to the travel advice of Foreign Affairs“, explains Luc Coussement, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ABTO.

Our members will personally contact the affected customers to agree on a suitable alternative.“, he added. “Travelers who have already booked their trip to China can direct their questions to their travel agency or organizer. We continue to monitor the situation closely and assess the possible consequences for other destinations.

Airlines companies

© REUTERS

Assistance insurance

If you decide to leave, will you still be covered by your assistance insurance? The intervention of your insurance depends on the company you have chosen. With some insurance, you go at your own risk as soon as the epidemic is known and there is a warning from Foreign Affairs. Others insurers will provide you with a assistance if you become ill.

© Photo News

This is particularly the case of Europ Assistance which specifies on its site that it will assist its customers in the event of a medical problem on the spot, while adding that it will always have to comply with the decisions taken by the local authorities (concerning, by for example, access to the city or to hospitals) and to the health rules imposed by the competent authorities. “In certain circumstances, the travel assistance company will work closely with the Belgian diplomatic representation on site.

Traveling in good health

Regardless of your destination, before going abroad, it is more than advisable to consult the section “Advice by destination” from the official platform Diplomatie.be. You will find various information there, in particular on safety in general, but also on the vaccines to be envisaged.

Regarding health, you can also surf the information site “Wanda” developed by the Institute of Tropical Medicine (IMT) in Antwerp. Or simplify your life by downloading its news free app: Wanda (iOS & Android).

Before a trip, you can consult it to find out, for example, what are the vaccination and precautionary requirements, while during the trip the app can advise you on measures to be taken in the event of an incident“, according to Dr. Patrick Soentjens, head of IMT.

Project leader Dr. Mieke Croughs points out that the app only contains general information, valid for everyone. “We cannot take into account the health risks of an individual traveler as we do not have his / her medical history or the circumstances in which he / she is traveling.“On the other hand, the app allows ITM to send a specific message to travelers when an epidemic breaks out in a country.

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