As we are finally seeing some relief from the second wave in India, many people are revisiting their travel plans, whether it is to pursue a new career opportunity in a different state or country, higher education purposes, leisure, or to return to family. While the Covid-19 safety guidelines still hold good and it is advised to restrict an unnecessary movement to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus, certain reasons may compel to people to travel. Travelling is riskier for unvaccinated people as the rate of infection is still high, partly due to the cases of severe viral strains or ‘variants of concern’. It will be a while before we can consider free movement without taking any safety precautions and people who are traveling must take extra care to ensure that their health and that of those around them is safeguarded. The following are some tips and guidelines –
- Before, during and after your journey, study the most recent Covid-19 travel prohibitions and Covid-19 testing requirements
- Get a viral test done 1-3 days before your trip
- It is better to carry your own drinks and snacks, avoid standing in lines and avoid outside food
- If you are flying, using the train, or taking the bus from a region where the Covid-19 incidence is high, the chances of a passenger near you or a group of passengers contracting the disease is greater, hence choose the mode of travelling carefully
- Before travelling, it is a good idea to conduct some research on the location. If the community spread is high where you live or where you are going, reconsider your trip plan
- Wear a mask, ideally N-95, surgical mask or double mask through the journey
- Maintain a sense of discipline, stay at least 6 feet apart, avoid crowding and discourage those around you from crowding
- Hands must be washed with soap regularly or sanitised
- Be mindful when coming into contact with public objects, such as ATMs, control machines, escalators, lifts, and other such equipment and surfaces. If possible, use disposable gloves while travelling and clean hands regularly.
- Avoid touching your face. The virus cannot enter the body through skin, but it can make you sick if you have virus particles on your hands and touch one of your faces mucous membranes such as mouth, nose or eyelids
What you should know before flying
- Airlines have begun to acclimatise to Covid-19’s reality. Check if your airline allows for social separation where feasible, enforces the wearing of face masks, and offers adequate access to hand sanitisers or handwashing while flying. Remember that getting to the airport during the pandemic, as well as the time you spend at the airport for check-in, security checks, boarding, luggage retrieval etc. may be riskier than the flight itself, so take safety measures on every leg of your journey
What You Should Know while travelling using public transport
- Keep up to date on federal mask regulations for public transportation. Seek the latest information on changes in service and process from your local transport authority, particularly if you require special assistance. It is better to consider traveling during non-peak hours when there are likely to be fewer people and if at all possible, skip a row of seats between you and other passengers. Avoid eating or drinking on public transportation. When you’re not among other people and before eating or drinking, as well as before removing your mask or touching your face, apply a hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
While travelling by Personal vehicles
- It is vital to limit the number of passengers in the car to only those who are absolutely essential to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus and to improve the vehicle’s ventilation. If at all rented an automobile sanitize the door handles, steering wheel, and other surfaces.
By Dr. S.N Aravinda, Consultant, Internal Medicine, Aster RV Hospital