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Londoners take flight admist COVID-19 concerns

London International Airport . Sawyer Bogdan / Global News

With March Break about to start, some people from London, Ont., are not letting COVID-19 derail their travel plans.

Global News spoke to some travelers at the London International Airport who were on their way to Florida and Abbotsford about their travel plans and novel coronavirus concerns.

Nikki Bertoia is headed to Florida with her daughter and husband and says they can’t wait to start enjoying the beach and sun.

“We have to carry on and enjoy. We can’t run around scared all the time,” she said.

READ MORE: London family talks Disney trip cancellation with coronavirus on the rise

But Bertoia said travelling is not without its concerns, and they are being cautious and aware of what they touch and being diligent with hand washing.

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“My carry-on has a whole lot of sanitation products in it, everything from Clorox wipes to hand sanitizer and my own paper towels.”

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 1,215 cases of the new coronavirus in the United States and 26 cases in Florida.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: U.S. restrictions on Europe travel latest blow to struggling airlines

Wednesday, the U.S. issued a ban on all foreign citizens entering the country if they have been in Europe in the past several weeks. The decision comes after COVID-19 spread quickly across the European continent.

Tricia Shoniker with her two children Andrew and Kaitlyn getting ready to board a flight to Abbotsford B.C. for March Break. Sawyer Bogdan / Global news

Tricia Shoniker and her two children are on their way to Abbotsford B.C. to visit family and do some hiking over March Break.

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She said they have concerns, but they are trying to be reasonable.

“[We’re] keeping a level head and taking regular precautions — I mean there is the flu and other germs out there,” Shoniker said.

She said the family has stocked up on hand sanitizer, and they have wet wipes to clean off the surfaces around them.

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Coronavirus outbreak: Doug Ford tells families to ‘have fun’ and ‘go away’ during March Break – Mar 12, 2020

“It’s challenging times, the airline industry is feeling the effect of it,” president of London International Airport, Mike Seabrook, said.

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Although the London airport does not travel directly to any of the most impacted countries, Seabrook spoke to Global News about how the airport is dealing with international travellers coming from connecting flights.

“It boils down to two things, the cleanliness of the terminal building and using disinfectants, taking that approach, and the second thing — if someone is identified with the disease — to have resources in places to get them isolated and in contact with the medical community.”

He said they are taking their direction from the Public Health Agency of Canada and Transport Canada for how to react.

Confused about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is very low for Canadians, but they caution against travel to affected areas (a list can be found here). If you do travel to these places, they recommend you self-monitor to see whether you develop symptoms and if you do, to contact public health authorities.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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