They dare to go abroad

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Quebecers have chosen to take their summer vacation abroad rather than in La Belle Province, ignoring the warnings of the Canadian government.

“It’s time to travel,” says David Ly, who joined The newspaper directly from the island of Santorini in Greece.

When the country opened its borders to Canadian nationals on July 1, he and his wife jumped at the chance and bought plane tickets for $ 875.

A kit including a mask, gloves and other hygiene products, given to the passengers of the plane.

Photo courtesy, David Ly

A kit including a mask, gloves and other hygiene products, given to the passengers of the plane.

They were also convinced by the low prices on hotel rooms.

“There is a room that we reserved for $ 140 per night whereas last year, it was posted at $ 800 Canadian,” he explains.

However, the recommendations of the Public Health Agency of Canada are very clear when it comes to non-essential travel: it must be avoided!

Among the reasons cited, the government mentions that air transport options may be limited and that local authorities in other countries may impose control measures without warning.

“Calculated risk”

Well aware of these warnings, the 37-year-old Montrealer claims to have taken a “calculated risk”.

He learned about the health instructions that were in force in the Balkan country.

To cross the borders, he had to have proof that he had tested negative for the coronavirus within the previous 72 hours.

However, he didn’t need to self-quarantine when he arrived.

” It is more safe than in Quebec. There were fewer cases in Greece because everything closed very early. I feel safer than in Canada, ”says David Ly.

Indeed, as of yesterday, Greece had recorded 5,421 cases of coronavirus per 10 million inhabitants, according to data collected by the famous American University Johns Hopkins.

In comparison, Quebec had 60,367 for a population of 8 million people.

Mr. Ly says that the distancing measures are better respected there than in Quebec.

“We saw everyone in the parks [au Québec] who cares. Here, people do not give a damn. People wear masks and wash their hands, ”he notes.

He maintains that his travel experience is not affected by these health guidelines. “For us, it’s a trip like any other except that we wear a mask,” he says.

The Montreal couple will return to the country on August 14. And since he and his wife work from home, the 14 days of isolation will not be difficult to respect.

Party on a whim

If David Ly has planned every detail of his trip, Stéphanie has not.

On July 11, she went to an all-inclusive with her sister, in Cancún, Mexico.

The Gatineau resident considers that her actions were “reckless and thoughtless” and therefore preferred to keep her last name silent.

“I didn’t tell any of my friends that I left. There is only my boyfriend who knows it, ”admits the 42-year-old woman.

Mexico is still severely affected by COVID-19. As of yesterday, 469,407 positive cases and 51,311 deaths had been recorded there since the start of the pandemic.

“We won’t relive that”

Stéphanie and her sister were both enticed by the low prices of the packages.

“It cost me less than $ 800 for a four-star hotel where you eat, drink and don’t make your bed, while here camping I would have to make my bed and my little fire to make myself a Kraft Dinner … it’s not the same beat pantout, ”she explains.

Far from regretting her experience, she even thinks her trip wouldn’t have been the same without COVID-19.

” The resort was almost empty. Because of that, we had exceptional service from the employees, which we wouldn’t have had if the hotel had been at regular capacity. We won’t relive that, ”she concludes.

Traveling without COVID insurance

Travelers who go on vacation in the midst of a pandemic do not have many options for their trip, as few companies cover COVID-19.

Most insurers have chosen not to offer coverage for COVID-19 given the government notice that advises against all non-essential trips outside the country. Some do it for special cases only.

Desjardins, for example, covers health care related to COVID-19 for essential workers such as truckers or for those who wish to visit a family member at the end of their life.

A risky experience

The newspaper spoke with Jérémi, who chose to leave to join his friends in Portugal without knowing if his insurance also covered the virus.

He didn’t want to reveal his last name so as not to alarm his insurer.

“I knew that the chances of me developing complications if I caught it were slim enough and if I had to be hospitalized, I told myself that I could have covered the costs with my line of credit,” she says -he.

Even if he keeps unforgettable memories of his experience, he nevertheless considers it “risky”.

“The truth is, I don’t know what it’s like to be in a hospital and not be insured. I can try to imagine myself, but I haven’t experienced it, ”he admits.

Medipac and Blue Cross are among the few companies to offer coverage for the virus.

The Blue Cross, which has offered the COVID-19 option since July 22, is however trying to educate its customers about the risks.

“We don’t encourage people to go to an all-inclusive in Cuba. There are risks in traveling. If there is a wave that occurs in any country, we cannot guarantee beyond any doubt that assistance and medical care will be available ”, explains Josiane Cousineau, vice-president of the marketing and public relations section. the company.

Josiane Cousineau, vice-president of the marketing and public relations section of the Blue Cross, tries to make her clients aware of the risk.

Courtesy photo

Josiane Cousineau, vice-president of the marketing and public relations section of the Blue Cross, tries to make her clients aware of the risk.

However, she adds: “If our customers find their trip essential, we are not here to judge. We trust them. There will be no exclusion for someone who would like to go to an all inclusive. “

Improvements to be expected

For his part, Moscow Côté, president of the Association of Travel Agents of Quebec, believes, however, that several insurers risk adding better coverage for the coronavirus in the coming weeks.

“It’s a matter of time in my opinion before all insurers are able to calculate the financial risk associated with COVID and include it,” believes Mr. Côté. Knowing that there will be no vaccine for a few months yet, I believe that the companies will adapt. ”

Lift the ban for certain safer countries

The president of the Association des agents de voyage du Québec (AAVQ) regrets that the Canadian government still recommends avoiding all trips outside the country.

“I understand that the government issued this warning in March because the state of emergency required it. However, I believe that Canada has the necessary experts to review the situation on a case-by-case basis, as was done before the crisis ”, thinks Moscow Côté.

He believes the government’s warning should be lifted in countries where there are fewer cases, since the level of risk is lower.

Shorter quarantine

“Personally, I would feel comfortable visiting France where there are relatively few cases. But would I visit Mexico? I don’t think so, ”explains the president of the AAVQ.

The latter also thinks that the mandatory quarantine on return should be shorter when the country visited has few cases.

“There are about 12 weeks of good weather per summer in Quebec. It’s much less tempting to leave when you know you’re going to miss two on the way back, ”he said.

♦ This week, the United States lifted its unilateral travel ban, preferring to leave it to the Americans to assess the risk depending on the country visited.

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