OSU-Cascades business program manager says outbreak also could affect C.O. home workers
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The coronavirus outbreak brings uncertainty about Central Oregonians' planned trips to Southeast Asia, but also could affect those who never leave home.
NewsChannel 21 on Thursday looked into how the coronavirus, which has killed hundreds in mainland China and has been diagnosed in 15 Americans, could affect travel between Oregon-based companies and China.
Gail Ngo, a travel agent with Getaways Travel in Bend, said the company has a cruise scheduled from Thailand to Singapore in November. Ngo said about 22 people have contacted Getaways Travel, concerned about how the coronavirus outbreak could affect their vacation plans.
“We have concerned travelers who have called us, asking if they should be canceling or rethinking things,” Ngo said Thursday. “Obviously, there’s a lot of time between now and the cruise date, so right now we’re keeping up to date with the CDC’s recommended precautions.”
Ngo said it’s not just traveling to places that people should be worried about, but also being able to return, due to screening precautions and quarantine situations that could arise.
“Some cruise lines have not been able to go to port where they have been scheduled to, and people have been stuck, so we certainly don’t want that to happen to our clients,” Ngo said.
Ngo recently returned from celebrating Lunar New Year in Taiwan. She said it's not surprising to hear how fast the virus spreads, due to the high population density in large Asian cities.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned travelers not to go to mainland China until further notice. The travel warning does not apply to Macau, Hong Kong, or Taiwan.
Kim Vierra, student engagement program manager at the OSU-Cascades College of Business, said the coronavirus outbreak does not just affect people traveling for leisure. It also affects people who do not even plan on leaving their home.
“We have one of the largest groups of people who work from home and work remotely for large companies,” Vierra said. “They also will be affected, because many of those multi-national companies that they work for remotely have strong ties to China and other parts of Asia.”
Vierra and her husband own a travel company in Vietnam. She said several international school trips to Asia scheduled for March were canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Ngo said Getaways Travel is working hard to help people continue planning their dream vacations to southeast Asia. Still, she said their clients’ safety is their No. 1 priority.
"The key is to not panic and to be smart about it,” Ngo said. “Also, you don’t have to be committed to, 'I’ve got to go at this point in time,' because there will always be another trip, another place."