Covid-19 and Travelling: How to reduce the risk of infection during travel?

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The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the world for over a year, acting as a major hurdle in all our travel plans. Because of safety concerns, travel lovers are deterred from exploring the world and visiting new places. However, safe travel is possible if people take precautions to reduce the risk of infection during travel. Here is a detailed guide to protecting oneself from the virus, and the risk of virus transmission.


  1. Know The Virus

The first step in protecting oneself from a virus is to understand it. Travellers should know the risk the disease poses, and the symptoms that it creates. Awareness about safety measures, diagnosis, and treatment is essential. The main symptoms are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Patients might also experience breathlessness, body aches, loss of smell and taste, diarrhoea, or chest pain. If these symptoms arise, one must go for a test as soon as possible, and quarantine or self-isolate as long as they persist. If the test report comes back negative, it means that they have not contracted the virus.


  1. Evaluate The Risk

Some areas have a higher number of positive test results, which indicates that more people are getting Covid in those areas. Before planning your trip, you should check the statistics in those areas, and research the SOPs and precautions being followed there. If the host country has a higher number of cases, it is wise not to go there unless necessary. Even with precautions, it is safer to visit places that pose less risk.


  1. Wear a Mask

Wearing a mask is an easy and simple way to protect yourself from the virus. Masks act as a barrier, ensuring that respiratory droplets or harmful particles do not travel from one person to another, thus reducing the risk of virus transmission. Surgical or medical masks are recommended, although one can choose to wear cloth masks that are made from breathable materials and fabrics such as cotton.


  1. Keep Hands Clean

One of the main ways of exposing yourself to the risk of getting the coronavirus is to touch contaminated surfaces and then touching your face (eyes, nose, or mouth). It is important that you do not touch unclean surfaces so it is advisable to wear gloves. You must wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds, and should sanitize them as often as you can. Wiping down surfaces is also a good idea, so carry wet wipes, as well as a pocket-sized bottle of hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol in it.


  1. Practice Social Distancing

Social distancing refers to the maintenance of a safe distance of 6 feet or 2 metres between people. This means that one must avoid crowded areas, and should not stand too close to other people in public places. Try to visit remote, less populated areas. On the plane, avoid moving around, and choose the window seat, as it keeps a safer distance from other passengers and the aisle where more contact is likely.


  1. Check Airline Policies

Before planning your trip, check whether the airline requires a COVID test report. It is smart to inquire about in-flight procedures. Many top rated airlines use extensive sanitizing procedures, such as regular sanitization and disinfection of seats and cabins, following the protocols recommended by the WHO. Many airlines have installed air filtration systems which remove bacterias or viruses from the air. Travellers can get clean and sealed blankets, although carrying your own blanket and pillow provides an extra layer of safety. Food is served hot with disinfected utensils, so it is safe to eat.


  1. East Safe Foods

Eating carefully is essential in reducing the risk of infection during travel. Before you eat, you should confirm what ingredients went into your food, and confirm that your meal has been made in an hygienic environment. If the food is served warm, it is more likely to be clean and safe for consumption, as heat tends to kill germs.

  1. Tips for Airports

Getting through the airport can feel scary, but tourists can ensure safety here as well.

  • At entry and exit points, tourists are scanned and their temperature is checked and recorded to ensure that they do not spread the virus.
  • The queue at immigration can be longer than usual as checking is slower, as the agents take extra care, but travellers should maintain a safe distance of 2 metres.
  • Agents wear new gloves after they pat down a person during check-in.
  • If you do not want agents to touch your belongings, you can pack items such as food in a see-through plastic bag so it does not need to be checked separately.
  • Using an electronic boarding pass means that physical contact between agents and passengers is limited, but if that is not allowed, tourists can use readers to scan paper boarding passes, ensuring a safe and contactless check-in process.


  1. Quarantine Upon Arrival

When you reach the host country, you should quarantine for up to 14 days to ensure that you have not contracted the virus during your travel.

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