What a difference a year makes!
In December 2019, we were in the midst of one of our group medical trips. It was hectic, but fun. All of our clients had a good time – and the trip was a success.
Then, came Covid-19, and all of us were forever changed. Our documentary was put on hold, along with all of our upcoming scheduled group trips – and American Physicians Network, like so many other small businesses, struggled to survive.
We worried about our clients, and future clients – and what they were going thru, as the bottom fell out. We worried about our doctors, scattered across six countries. We didn’t know that our hometown of Memphis, Tennessee would end up being more dangerous than most of our destinations.
As international flight restrictions eased, I took one of the first flights to our regional office here in Colombia. I stepped off the plane to feel safer than I had in months. Covid still exists in Colombia, but it isn’t raging out of control. Masking policies are universally followed, (nary a bare face to be seen) and all restaurants, shops and other businesses have moved to social distancing policies, mandatory temperature checks and sanitation stations.
Life isn’t back to normal, there are no coffee dates or in person meetings – but because Colombians here in the capital city have embraced these health safeguards after one of the longest lockdown in the world, the virus is not raging out of control.
I return to the USA in a few weeks – and honestly, I’m concerned. I stocked up on masks, and a durable faceshield here (because there aren’t any shortages here – supplies are cheap and readily available). Now I have to prepare to jump thru the necessary hoops to come back home. Delta is still enforcing the empty middle seat policy (which is why I chose them), as well as contact tracing for all International flights entering the United States. I’ll quarantine when I arrive, and take another covid test before getting back to work. But I’m not as afraid of bringing home Covid – my risks are so much lower here – but I am worried I’ll contract it once I arrive.
That being said – the vaccine brings hope. With this hope, American Physicians Network (APN) is tentatively planning to offer our next medical trip to Colombia in late May. Given the current discussions among airlines and nations, we anticipate that travelers will need to have proof of vaccination before being allowed entry to Colombia (or any of our international sites.) Since it’s our first trip in a year, spots will be limited. We will continue to offer our 50% discount on our services as we re-ignite our business.
We will continue to monitor Covid-19 activity at our sites in other parts of the world, and will plan to initiate trips to these areas when safe, and feasible.
As always, we will also recommend that all travelers purchase travel insurance.
Of course, as we have all learned, a lot can happen in a few months, so we will check in here again over the upcoming months as the mass vaccination programs are implemented globally.
For the many people out there, who have difficulty accessing health care, who are unable to afford care and for those who who have lost their safety net due to pandemic related issues, we are here for you.