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According to the World Health Organization, so far coronavirus has claimed more than 9,840 deaths and 234,073 cases have been confirmed worldwide. As per the data by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in India so far the total number of active novel coronavirus (COVID-19) cases has risen to 271.
Due to the grim situation, the WHO and CDC have recommended people to self-quarantine or self-isolate to protect themselves and others. This has led students, employees and travellers to travel back home and this has left many people with questions and concerns about the safety of travelling.
Travellers may worry about the risk of contracting the virus while travelling. In this article, we discuss how to protect yourself while travelling.
1. Practice hand hygiene
While travelling, from your pick up point till you arrive at your destination, use a hand sanitiser (with an alcohol content of 60 to 95 per cent) every few minutes. You could come in contact with a lot of places and things which can be the breeding ground for germs. Also, hand washing is effective in preventing the risk of respiratory infection.
Avoid touching your nose, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands. Practicing good hand hygiene will help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 while travelling.
2. Avoid eating food from outside
Given the current situation, while travelling, avoid eating food or drink water from outside because you aren't fully sure of the quality and purity of food and water. Hence, to protect yourself from food contamination, carry your own bottled water and packed food from your home while travelling. And ensure that you don't come in contact with live animals and poultry.
3. Limit close contact
While travelling, you may come in close contact with many people. If a passenger is sick, avoid sitting next to him/her to lower the risk of contracting COVID-19, but that can be difficult if you are on a plane, train or a bus. However, planes have more effective air filtration systems, but if you are sitting close to a person who is coughing or sneezing you may still be exposed to airborne germs.
In this case, wear a face mask and gloves while travelling to help lower the risk of contracting an infection.
4. Don’t touch your nose, eyes and mouth
While travelling you are exposed to many airborne germs, including COVID-19. It is advisable to not touch your nose, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands. Travellers should wash their hands with soap and water or use a hand sanitiser.
The CDC has recommended all travellers to avoid cruise travel, particularly older adults and people of all age groups with serious medical conditions. Make sure that you get your vaccinations, including measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and the seasonal flu vaccine.
Individual travellers can help limit the transmission of coronavirus by practicing good hand and respiratory hygiene by staying away from people who are sick and taking other steps to help prevent the risk of infection.
Should travellers wear facemasks?
The CDC does not recommend face masks for healthy travellers. Only if you are sick and coughing or sneezing, wearing a face mask is necessary to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses to others.
What is the risk of getting COVID-19 on an airplane?
According to the CDC, on airplanes, because of the way the air circulates and is filtered, most viruses and other germs do not spread easily. Although the risk of infection on an airplane is low, try to minimise contact with passengers and wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
What happens if there is a sick passenger on an international or domestic flight?
As per the CDC disease protocols, if a sick traveller is considered to be a public health risk, the CDC works closely with the local and state health departments and international public health agencies to contact passengers and crew members who were exposed to that sick traveller.
What can I expect when departing to other countries?
Some countries are conducting exit screening for all passengers leaving the country. Before you board a departing flight, your temperature will be checked and be asked questions about your travel history and health.
What if I recently travelled and got sick?
Stay at home, avoid using public transportation, stay away from others, cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing and get in touch with your doctor immediately.