Thursday, March 05, 2020

The Cancellation Conundrum

The mad rush to cancel travel plans is on.

UK airline Flybe has become the first fatal casualty of the coronavirus downturn in this sector.

Yet Guatemala may end up being caught in a bit of a Catch-22 situation: There are still no official cases of COVID-19 infection here, yet there is also no official system for detection. Until the first case is announced, pre-booked visitors won't generally be able to claim on their insurance for any cancellations.

So, the timing of the epidemic could be crucial. Semana Santa is either going to be a damp squib as far as foreign visitors are concerned, or a humungous contagion-fest.

If the virus comes in overland from Chiapas it could lurk, largely un-detected for a while within communities with limited access to the required care. It would then reach Antigua once the in-bound migrations associated with the latter stages of Cuaresma kick off.

Alternatively it could reach us via the airport where, as of last week at least, no checks of any sort on arriving passengers were being made.

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