The novel coronavirus is giving people one more thing to think about as they prepare their travel plans for this spring.

The COVID-19 virus has now spread to over 100 countries worldwide, sickening more than 115,000 and resulting in 4,200 deaths. As a result, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease as a global pandemic on Wednesday.

As a result, many people are reevaluating their travel plans. Gloria Wiebe of Marlin Travel in Winkler said her office has been fielding calls from clients who are concerned about the situation and want more information. "They are concerned, but there's not a lot of panic. I think the media is making a huge issue over it. It seems to spread faster than anything else, but I'm not sure that we understand that it's not as deadly as some of the media seem to be telling us."

The travel industry is adapting to the situation by allowing clients to change their destination or travel dates, according to Wiebe. "A lot of the tour operators are letting clients change their destination or they can still go to that destination but at a different time period with no fees. Airlines are not charging a change fee if people would like to change to a different date. You can cancel if you like, but there may be some penalties depending on where you're going."

Travel to Europe is becoming an issue right now, particularly Italy where its 60 million residents have been placed under lockdown because of the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Western School Division has canceled a planned trip that students at Morden Collegiate were going to take to Europe and school officials in other divisions in the region are contemplating the same move.

Despite that situation, Wiebe said she hasn't noticed a downturn in business as a result of the coronavirus. "We're changing people to different dates and people who travel all the time are not really too worried about this whole situation because there is always going to be something."

She notes most people are following through on their plans to go where the weather is warmer like Mexico and the Dominican Republic. "We still have a lot of people going south. I have people leaving on a cruise today, so there's not a lot of panic."