A new wave of global travel restrictions has added further confusion to the Covid-19 crisis. Our Travel Editor has the latest.
A 30-day travel ban is coming between Europe's Schengen Area and the US.
Ireland's Department of Foreign has upgraded its travel warnings for Spain - advising against "non-essential travel" to the whole country after outbreaks in Madrid among other areas.
Italy is in lockdown, and India has barred foreign travellers altogether.
A cascade of coronavirus developments has seen tourism bookings collapse, Dublin-based travel agent, Rathgar Travel, go out of business, and the industry pivot into crisis mode.
And it all comes as the Irish government announces an emergency plan that kicked into action at 6pm on March 12, seeing Irish schools close and indoor gatherings of more than 100 people banned until March 29.
"If this was a farming or agriculture crisis, Government and Ministers would have rightly brought in a suite of support measures for their sector," says Eoghan O'Meara Walsh of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC).
"Without delay Government must help Ireland’s tourism sector, otherwise there will not be an industry left once the Coronavirus crisis passes. “
President Trump's unilateral travel ban currently excludes Ireland and the UK, and its vague language has led to confusion, with the European Union's presidents criticising a lack of consultation.
Here's what we know, and what the developments may mean for travel.
What is President Trump's travel ban?
Last night, President Trump suspended entry to the US of most foreign nationals from Europe's Schengen Area, including those who have been in its 26 countries at any time in the previous 14 days.
The Schengen Area is a borderless area of mainland Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
The ban doesn't currently apply to Ireland and the UK, nor to legal permanent residents, immediate family members of U.S. citizens and other individuals identified in the proclamation.
When does it come into affect?
From midnight this Friday, March 13. It will last for 30 days, subject to review.
Why is he doing this?
The ban "will keep Americans safe and save American lives", said US Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary, Chad F. Wolf.
It follows similar temporary bans on entry to the US on visitors from Iran and foreign nationals who have been in China in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the US, for instance.
However, it has also spread widespread confusion. What are 'immediate' family members? Could people travel from the Schengen area travel via Ireland or the UK to the US?
Why are Ireland and the UK excluded?
Good question. Neither Ireland or the UK are members of the 26-state Schengen area, but President Trump has not given a reason as to why they are excluded from his ban.
Speculation today is ranging from a US effort to focus coronavirus containment efforts on mainland Europe, to the President's relationship with Boris Johnson and the US military's use of Shannon airport.
The truth is, nobody knows. The White House is expected to offer additional advice shortly.
What other travel restrictions are in place?
In India, the government has announced that visas for all nationalities will be suspended from 12.00 GMT on March 13 until April 15, due to the coronavirus. All non-Indian citizens will not be allowed entry.
Follow our latest coronavirus travel updates here.
What are airlines saying?
Airlines, like everyone else, are scrambling to make sense of a rapidly changing situation that will impact thousands of flights. They are experiencing high call volumes and longer customer support wait times.
Norwegian this afternoon said it would ground 40pc of its long-haul fleet, suspend 4,000 flights and lay-off as much as half of its employees temporarily.
What happens if my trip is cancelled?
If your flight is cancelled for any reason, and regardless of when you are notified, your airline must offer you the choice between:
1) Re-routing as soon as possible, subject to availability, free of charge.
2) Re-routing at a later date.
3) A full refund.
What if I cancel my own trip?
If the DFA issues a warning to "avoid non-essential travel" to an area or a "do not travel" alert, then you should be eligible for refunds or re-bookings.
In the first instance, contact your travel provider (i.e. airline or tour operator) to see what costs you can reclaim for trips that have been cancelled or curtailed. If you booked separate accommodation (i.e. not through a licensed and bonded travel agent) then you will need to check the T&Cs, or look to your travel insurance to recover money.
If you cancel or cut short a trip because you feel nervous about travelling to an area, and the DFA has not issued a warning about that area, then you are likely to lose your deposit or payment.
This is a rapidly developing situation, but if your trip is weeks or months ahead, stay calm and contact your travel agent for advice. Many airlines (with notable exceptions like Ryanair) have temporarily waived change fees, and cruise lines and tour operators are offering unprecedented levels of flexibility on bookings at the moment.
This is also a good time to check your travel insurance, making sure government travel advice changes are included in your policy, and that you have 'Travel Disruption' cover - an additional element that must be purchased in advance of any public announcement prohibiting travel to the area you are travelling to.
Note that there is a moratorium (typically around seven days) on this additional cover from the date you add it. If you buy it today, for example, it will only kick in a week down the line.
How is Irish tourism being affected?
“The travel ban between Europe and the US is the latest example of the unprecedented challenge coronavirus is posing," says Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, CEO of the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation (ITIC).
"Tourism is in the business frontline of this crisis and thousands of jobs and businesses up and down the country are at real risk."
"2020 was already going to be a challenging year for tourism, with issues like Brexit and the delayed delivery of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft," Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said in a statement yesterday.
"Covid-19 is an extremely serious development which is affecting all of our key source markets."
Tourism jobs are already being lost, Gibbons says.
Ireland's outbound travel industry is reeling from a collapse in bookings, but the domestic hospitality industry is also facing a crisis that could result in the loss of thousands more.
On Thursday, Center Parcs Longford Forest announced it would close from March 13-29.
"If this was a farming or agriculture crisis, Government and Ministers would have rightly brought in a suite of support measures for their sector," O'Meara Walsh says.
"Without delay Government must help Ireland’s tourism sector, otherwise there will not be an industry left once the Coronavirus crisis passes.“