(Feature photo: Outpost/John Price, in Thailand)
December 2020 | Where We Are Now: As you’ve likely heard by now, through November, we learned that a number of COVID-19 vaccines in clinical trials showed extremely promising results, some with very high (90% and up) efficacy rates. Most are now under review by official regulators across the world to ensure they’re safe and meet appropriate, modern health standards.
With the deadliness of the COVID-19 virus, the ease that it transmits person to person, the overwhelming infection rates in most countries, and the devastating secondary effect the pandemic it caused has had on economies and standards of living across the globe, a vaccine to protect all people is the best possible news. After such a dreadful year, ending it on hopes of conquering an awful disease that has killed so many so fast—including, in late October, a 5-year-old girl in Texas, whose mother told NBC News was very “fastidious about wearing a mask”—feels strangely profound.
December will be an extremely important month in the fight against COVID-19: with a serious “2nd COVID-19 wave” now underway around the world, we encourage you to listen to local authorities, and do your best to follow public health guidelines and protocols for your community. Protect yourself, protect your family, protect your community.
The vaccines are coming, but it will take time to approve, manufacture and roll them out, and in the interim, people are still getting sick and dying from COVID-19, even when they’ve done their best to follow the rules. That’s how prevalent this disease now is; that’s how deadly this virus can be.
Stay safe, stay patient, stay tuned to local authorities, stay connected to your fellow citizens. We’ll round the bend soon, but are not there yet. And if travel is your elixir of choice, you can still do lots of travel reading and travel planning for when this unprecedented pandemic is behind us. And again—stay safe.
Update | June 2020 | COVID-19 Impact on Travel: As Canada and other countries slowly emerge from their COVID-19 epidemic peaks, governments (at various levels) are putting phase-in protocols in place with the utmost care (we hope!!), with the intent of reopening economies without risking the gains made by lockdowns, or the healthy and safety of citizens going forward.
As you may be aware, some countries and/or jurisdictions are being less vigilant than others, which greatly affects their COVID-19 infection and mortality rates—not only currently, but likely in the months and possibly year to come. Thus, no matter your own jurisdiction’s COVID-19 status, it’s imperative as a traveller to investigate the status of your end destination. Get tested, if at all possible in your area, before you travel outside your own jurisdiction, with the idea of you NOT importing/exporting the virus.
And remember—with regards to any infectious disease and especially COVID-19, it is ALWAYS better to be over than under-cautious. (Check out this video on how to wear a face mask properly.)
Regarding travel, here in Canada: the federal government’s advisory against all non-essential travel outside of Canada remains in place, especially to our neighbour (and biggest travel destination) the United States, where Canadian borders are closed to recreational travellers. As of this date, the COVID-19 situation in the US is still highly unpredictable, and varies dramatically across states and jurisdictions. (The BBC gives a global COVID-19 profile and update here.)
However, “if you must travel, please visit the Government of Canada’s travel advice and advisories page for your destination(s) regularly to verify travel health recommendations and safety and security information.” Interprovincial recreational (non-essential travel) continues to have restrictions; so if you must travel interprovincially, consult your provincial government guidelines, and those of your destination.
Canada’s northern regions also continue to remain closed to all outside travellers/non-residents for the time being. According to the Nunavut News, the territory “is the only jurisdiction in Canada with zero cases of Covid-19.” And they’re working hard to keep it that way!
As for the operational status of travel companies and tour operators, both domestic and international ones: well, they’ll sure be happy to get all you adventure-seekers back on the road! In the meantime, we encourage you to check out their websites, as many are planning itineraries and booking tours for the future, and have information on any new/updated health and safety protocols they’re putting in place. Check out the Outpost Travel Center, which has links to tour operators.
Time and patience are our friends. Remember, it’s about the journey not (just) the destination. And how we get there says a lot about our character.
Announcement | March 24,2020 | As you are likely aware, tour operators and travel companies around the world are hunkering down—like all of us!—during the COVID-19 global pandemic, following public health protocols and government directives for their operations. As such, we will not be adding more trips to the Outpost Travel Center for the time being, but hope to be able to do so again soon—mostly because it will have meant the collective actions we’ve taken around the globe would have “flattened the curve,“ halted the spread, and saved lives.
For information, updates and/or guidelines on travel plans you had/have with a tour operator, please check their website directly—most address the COVID-19 situation, offer some specifics on how they’re planning for future operation, and have info on how you can get in touch.
As to the trips already on the Outpost Travel Center—well, you can still read, research, imagine, hope and dream about travelling, and that spectacular trip-of-a-lifetime yet to come.