The outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic from the early part of 2020 till date has lead all the countries throughout the world to stop or restrict the movement of the people from one place to another, be it within the country or to and from other countries. Each of the countries had framed their own travel advisories to curve down or restrict the spread of the virus. Though wide spread vaccination has started all over the world and people are slowly and steadily getting vaccinated, one should be careful about international travel because it increases the risk of getting infected with COVID variants. Before making travel plans, some questions to be considered.
Some of the questions or points to be considered before any travel plan are made:-
- Has the traveller been vaccinated? – One should be vaccinated as soon as possible. As most vaccines have two doses, one should wait for the required time between the two doses and give the body sufficient time to acquire full protection after the vaccination.
- Risk for acute illness – Anyone can get affected by the virus, but the older people with certain comorbidities are more vulnerable to severity of COVID 19. If one gets contaminated while travelling, he or she may affect other people being asymptomatic after return.
- Does the destination have restrictions or requirements for travellers ? –The federal, state and local travel and testing rules should be followed even after full vaccination.
Local restrictions, situations and requirements:
Local state governments have framed their requirements depending on the prevailing situation in their areas. While stepping in their countries, the travellers have to produce a negative test report of not more than seventy two hours old. Again the travellers may have to stay quarantine at their own home for fourteen days. For outsiders, local government arrange for safe home to stay quarantine for fourteen days. One must keep in mind that the restrictions may vary from place to place according to the variants of COVID 19 and the prevailing situation in that area. One has to keep oneself updated about these information immediately before the trip.
When a person has completed his vaccination course, he may not require to be tested again and negative test report may not be required to be produced while travelling interstate. But, during international travel, the Authorities of the visiting country may require the traveller to undergo testing to confirm his negativity and may ask him or her to go for quarantine for fourteen days. While returning home, he or she may have to pass through the same process.
When a person is not vaccinated, it is recommended to have a viral test prior to within seventy two hours of the trip. The same test to be repeated after the trip is completed. Even in case of negative test report, one should stay at home avoiding unimportant outdoor activities. If the test report is positive, one must isolate oneself immediately and confine in a room and follow the directive of the medical experts.
Safer mode of travel:
While travelling, it is important to choose the mode of transport. Air travel is at all-time considered to be a safer mode of transport in comparison to travel by car, train, bus, ship etc. Proper disinfecting, sanitization and maintaining distance from other passengers are stringently followed by most of the airlines. At present, end to end information about flights, their timings, rescheduling (if any), quarantine guidelines and country wise travel advisories are available on their respective company websites and internet, be it India, Asian Countries like Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore etc. the European countries, US etc. One good example is the Cathay Pacific Travel Advisories.
Besides, some precautions are to be followed by the passengers themselves for their own safety:-
- Wear a mask and wash or sanitize hands frequently.
- While waiting at lounge for check-in formalities avoid gathering and maintain a distance.
- Avoid touching the buttons of the elevators, handrails etc.
- One should refrain oneself to touch ones nose, eyes and mouth.
- Avoid taking any food or drinks while travelling so that he or she does not require to remove the mask time and again.
- Carrying of mask, hand sanitizer, wipes for disinfecting surfaces, Thermometer etc. are must.
While travelling, it should always be kept in mind that personal safety is the first priority and every one should follow the travelling advisories issued by the local Government or the medical experts.