The round-the-world Clipper Race that was brought to an abrupt end by coronavirus

We were in a bubble out there,” Mary Vaughan-Jones mused.

The 24-year-old from Lancaster returned home last weekend after seven months at sea – her attempt at circumnavigating the globe as part of the Clipper Race having been brought to an abrupt end by the coronavirus pandemic – to find the world in a state of chaos. 

“It’s been quite overwhelming and it’s taken a few days to adjust to the seriousness of it all,” Vaughan-Jones says of her return to reality, adding, “I was devastated the race was cut short; I was having the time of my life, but it has been the correct decision”.

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Flights: Why can I fly to the USA from the UK?

Flights have been seriously disrupted and most countries have issued travel advisories and outright bans to restrict the spread of coronavirus. Due to the measures implemented around the world, the airline industry has lost roughly £755bn ($880bn). So why can you still fly to the USA from the UK?

Donald Trump banned all travel from the UK to the US earlier this month.

Previously the US President had issued a travel ban from the Schengen area of the European Union, but later extended it to include the UK.

This move prompted the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to advise against all but essential travel to the US.

The travel restrictions came into effect at 3.59pm GMT on March 17.


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Currently, the USA has the third-highest number of cases around the globe, with 26,892 confirmed cases.

Of these cases, 348 people have died, while 178 people have recovered, leaving 26,366 active cases, 1,612 of which are in a serious or critical condition.

The UK meanwhile has the 10th highest number of cases.

In total, there are 5,018 reported cases in the UK, of which 233 have died and 93 have recovered.

This means there are 4,692 active cases of which 20 are in a serious or critical condition.

The travel ban saw thousands of flights across the Atlantic cancelled, with several airlines affected.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice reads: “The US authorities announced on 14 March that travel restrictions imposed previously on Schengen zone countries would now be extended to the UK (and Ireland).

“From 23:59 Eastern Daylight Time on 16 March (03:59 GMT 17 March) it will not be possible for many British nationals to enter the USA.

“We therefore advise against all but essential travel to the US, due to the travel restrictions.”

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However, some travellers are still permitted access to the USA from the UK.

President Trump has suspended most flights from Europe to the USA for the next 30 days.

No one who has been in the UK in the last 14 days will be permitted into the USA.

But this ban does not apply to US citizens.

US citizens who have been in the UK in the last two weeks will still be allowed to travel to the USA.

However, they must use one of 13 airports, including:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia.

What will happen once you arrive?

When travellers arrive they will proceed to standard customs processing.

They will then continue to enhanced entry screening where the passenger will be asked about their medical history, current condition, and asked for contact information for local health authorities.

Passengers will then be given written guidance about COVID-19 and directed to proceed to their final destination, and immediately home-quarantine in accordance with CDC best practices.

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Coronavirus travel: How at risk are YOU when using public transport and flights?

As coronavirus spreads from country to country, transport operators have come to be at the frontline of an international public health crisis. Efforts to combat the spread are ongoing and the UK is still in the containment phase despite confirmed cases growing by roughly 50 per day.


  • UK coronavirus tracker: How many cases of coronavirus in UK right now?

Coronavirus is spread through droplet transmission. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they expel tiny droplets containing the virus into the air, ranging to approximately 6ft around them.

The droplets are dense enough that they can’t stay in the air for longer than a couple of minutes, so they will naturally fall to the floor or on surfaces.

There, the virus can live for up to 12 hours – so if you touch a hand rail or press the button infected with the bacteria and then touch your face, you could be at risk.

This risk is exacerbated on tightly packed commuter lines.


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Buses and Trains

Research published by the Institute of Global Health showed that individuals who used more than one tube line frequently were more likely to suffer from flu-like symptoms.

This was echoed by Environmental Health journal. The underground serves roughly 1.2 billion passengers annually, and is a particular hotspot for infectious diseases.

Those most at risk were found to be commuters who take long journeys or use busy stations, as they come into contact with more shared surfaces and people.

Travelling at off peak times may be a way to mitigate having to use busy public transport, however this is not an option for a lot of people.

It is best to wash your hands before and after using the bus or the train to stop the spread of all infections, not just COVID-19.


Flights across the world are being cancelled in the wake of COVID-19.

Virgin Atlantic reported yesterday that it has been running near empty flights, and British Airways flights between Italy and the UK have been cancelled until April.

The confined space of a flight cabin seems a natural place for germs to be transmitted from one person to another.

Studies suggest it is not the recirculated cabin air that creates risk as the air is frequently filtered. The spread of infection is largely caused by movement within the cabin.

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Coronavirus flights: Ryanair cancels all flights to Italy – INSIGHT


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Moving around is more common on a long haul flight as people get up to stretch their legs and use the toilet, so you’re more likely to be infected on a long haul flight than a short one.

During the 2003 Sars epidemic, 25 passengers were infected by a single ‘superspreader’.

Some were seated as far as seven rows in front of and five rows behind the infected passenger.

How can we protect ourselves?

Official government advice is to wash your hands frequently for 20 seconds, or the length it takes to sing happy birthday twice.

Always cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow in public places.

The use of face masks has been widely discussed since the outbreak.

Wearing one on public transport is certainly not a guarantee you won’t be infected, however they are effective at catching droplets, which is how coronavirus is transmitted.

If you can walk or cycle to your destination, do so. Not only will it reduce your time spent in cramped spaces with potentially infected people, but keeping fit will improve your body’s immune system and improve your chances of fighting off an infection.

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Insight Vacations launches new women-only India trip

Hot on the heels of International Women’s Day, Insight Vacations has launched a new women’s only trip – Inspirational India, A Wander Women Journey.

As the first itinerary in Insight’s new ‘Wander Women’ journey programme, it will take place in India in 2021 and will offer immersive learning opportunities, wellness experiences and deliciously authentic dining.

It is also designed to demonstrate the impact tourism can have on women’s economic empowerment.

Insight continues its efforts to champion a gender equal world, with its latest effort being the launch of this wholly new programme of journeys created and led by women.

Just like all Insight journeys, clients who embark on this experience will get all of the sights and the insights, up close and personal, in comfort and in style.

“With 57 per cent of our guests being female, along with the rise of women’s only travel, our new ‘Wander Women’ journey is a perfect fit for those who want to get below the surface and experience India as a culturally immersive destination.

“Designed and run by women, this new journey provides myriad opportunities to give back and empower women in the local communities while learning about their day-to-day lives,” said Rachel Coffey, director of sales and business development for Insight Vacations.

“This journey is also a great opportunity to connect and travel with other fabulous women from around the world.”

The journey is only available on a limited departure date, so clients are encouraged to book early to secure their space.

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