The coronavirus outbreak threatened the world and public health drastically over the past several months. Lockdowns and other restrictions are necessary measures to save lives, but they have changed our lifestyles and limited our opportunities to move freely significantly.
Since COVID-19 first appeared, late December last year, about 35,500,000 people have been infected and more than 1.000,000 have died worldwide. The numbers are frightening, and they continue to rise, therefore the countries all over the world have established travel advisories and rules to help us stay safe. If you do wish to travel or if you cannot avoid it due to family obligations or work, here is everything you need to know before you depart.
Things to consider before you leave
First things first, you should ask yourself whether you are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or if you live with someone who might be. It is important to remember that no matter your age, everyone can be infected with the virus. However, research shows that there are two groups of people who have a significantly higher chance to get severely ill. The first, are our elderly, mainly those over the age of 60 but the numbers show that the risk of severe complications slowly increases after the age of 40. The second group is those of us that already suffer from pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer, etc.
Another thing you should check first is whether COVID-19 cases are spreading at your destination. If the number of people getting infected is rapidly rising, you might want to reconsider or change your travel plans. The more cases – the more likely you are to get contaminated and spread it to others when you return. There is also the risk of a country’s borders closing due to a high number of cases before your holiday ends, meaning that you might get stuck there for a bit or have to buy very expensive return tickets.
Check travel restrictions and requirements
Even though the border checks within the EU were lifted in June allowing people to travel freely, it is necessary to check travel requirements at your destination while planning your journey. Increasing coronavirus cases pose a threat to public health and travel requirements are constantly changing. State, local and territorial governments may impose new restrictions, including quarantine orders and testing requirements upon arrival.
Companies like Chapman Freeborn, global aircraft specialists, have even created an interactive passenger travel guide. The guide shows the level of restrictions when travelling by air it displays whether a country is; open to citizens and residents, open to foreign nationals and whether they’re any quarantine regulations in place. Advice sites and sources are also listed for local information and alerts.
While some may think that air travel is the most dangerous way to travel during a pandemic, the trip on the plane itself is not the issue. It’s evident that COVID-19 can be spread by tiny particles suspended in the air, but the way air circulates on planes is preventing viruses from spreading easily. According to Boeing, the air onboard is clean and ‘virus free’ due to Hepa filters on all modern aircraft. It turns out that filtered air is just as clean as the air in a hospital operating room.
The biggest threat when travelling by air is spending time in security ques and airport terminals before the flight. Taking a commercial flight can bring you in close contact with other people and potentially contaminated surfaces. That’s why private flight charter companies have been experiencing increasing demand for bookings over the past few months. A study done by a European private jet charter operator found that taking a commercial flight creates around 270 possible person-to-person interactions, compared to less than 20 while taking a private flight.
If you are planning a holiday or a trip not that far away from home, travelling by car might be a better option than travelling by air. It gives you more control over your environment while getting to the destination. You can make as many or few stops along the way as you want and pick the places yourself, it will just take some planning beforehand.
When travelling by car, it is recommended to try to avoid unnecessary stops as much as possible and always having a mask, hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes at hand. It’s best to prepare food and water to take on the trip and when in need of petrol, use a disinfectant wipe or gloves on handles and buttons before touching them.
Safety measures during your journey
Just because travel restrictions have been lifted, that doesn‘t mean that everything is completely back to normal. There are certain safety measures and restrictions that you must follow when travelling to protect yourself and others from the virus. While it may not be mandatory to wear a mask in public in every country, airlines can require you to do so on board. Studies have already shown that wearing a face mask can help prevent the spread of the virus from one person to another, so most major airlines are not willing to take the risk on their aircraft.
Besides wearing a face mask, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US and other public health organisations internationally, recommend following the steps below for a safer journey:
- Try to maintain a 2-metre distance from others as much as possible
- Avoid touching your face and hair
- Limit contact with frequently touched surfaces
- Avoid contact with anyone who is ill
- Cover sneezes and coughs
- Clean your hands often (especially after using the bathroom, before eating and touching your face, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing) or use a hand sanitiser with at least 60% of alcohol
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Should you stay in a hotel?
When choosing a hotel, make sure to check their official website first to see how they’re responding to COVID-19. Book properties that require their staff to wear masks, and have plexiglass at reception or if possible, where you can check-in online. Please take into consideration, that an apartment might be a lower-risk choice because it means that there will be less direct interactions with other guests. The hotel and travel industry have experienced a major impact due to the virus and they should be concerned about their visitors’ and staff’s safety. Some best practices include:
- Social distancing in the lobby and the front desk
- Increased cleaning of public areas, guest rooms, elevators and restaurants
- Requiring their staff and guests to wear masks
- Contactless payment
- Extra employee training in hygiene and the use of personal protective equipment
- Protocol in the event if a guest becomes ill
You can always call the hotel for additional reassurance and ask to book in a room that has been vacant for at least 24 hours.
After the travel
Regardless of where you travelled and what you did on your holiday, you may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your trip and pose a risk to your family, friends and the community for up to 14 days after you come back. Although you may feel well, you could be contagious without having any symptoms, so take the following actions to protect those around you:
- Try to maintain a 2-metre distance from others as much as possible
- Wear a mask
- Wash and sanitise your hands often
- Work from home if possible
- Monitor your health and contact a healthcare professional to get a COVID-19 test, if you develop any symptoms.
Company Name: Chapman Freeborn Airchartering Ltd.
Contact Person: Carol Carini
Email: Send Email
Phone: +44 (0) 1293 831 429
Address:3 City Place, Beehive Ring Road
State: RH6 0PA
Country: United Kingdom