In the last weeks the world has gotten to know a new type of Coronaviruses, known as the “Wuhan Virus” or “COVID-19”. People in the streets can be seen wearing masks, or even staying inside to be safe. Today, we want to cover recommendations by the World Health Organisation that reduce your exposure to viruses such as the Coronavirus while traveling.
Standard Hygiene Practices
Before we get into tips specific to travel, it’s important to be reminded of basic hygiene measures. Firstly, frequently wash your hands with soap and running water. Especially in the following situations:
If your hands are not visibly dirty, still frequently wash them with soap and running water, or alcohol-based hand rub. I – especially now – make sure to carry alcohol based hand gel with me, so that I can clean my hands when I don’t have access to soap and running water such as in the car, public transport, in class, etc.
Secondly, make sure to cough and sneeze in your elbow or a tissue rather than in your hand. We want to keep the hands clean, remember? Try to cover both your mouth and nose to prevent particles from flying anywhere, which could make someone else sick. Once again, after coughing or sneezing make sure to dispose of the tissue immediately, and clean your hands.
Finally, if you are not feeling well and are experiencing fever, cough or breathing problems, avoid busy areas and close contact with other people to protect others from getting sick. Moreover, make sure to seek medical care early, and share your travel history with your doctor.
In addition to practicing basic hygiene, make sure to adopt these measures for food safety:
- Use different chopping boards and knives for raw meat and cooked foods.
- Wash your hands with soap and running water between handling raw and cooked food.
- DO NOT eat animals that are sick or have died of diseases.
- Meat products of healthy animals are safe to eat if they are thoroughly cooked and handled properly during food preparation, even in areas experiencing virus outbreaks.
Shopping in Wet Markets
Wet markets sometimes are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Make sure to take the following measures into account if you are visiting wet markets!
How to travel safely
The measures we discussed are important in any situation, but there are some extra measures to take if you’re travelling. Firstly, don’t travel if you’re not feeling well. Seek medical care early, and share your travel history with your doctor. Avoid close contact with people suffering from fever and cough. This is difficult in crowded areas, so try and avoid those where possible. It’s very important that you avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with dirty hands. Once again, clean them frequently!
If you want to wear a face mask, cover both mouth and nose, and avoid touching the mask once it’s on. After using, immediately get rid of the single-use masks and MAKE SURE to wash your hands after removing it!
Finally, if you become sick while travelling, inform the crew of your mode of transport, and seek medical care as soon as possible. Once again, share your travel history with your health care provider as it may help your treatment.
Our thoughts go out to those affected and their families. We wish good health to everyone, and hope you’ll continue to enjoy your travels!
Learn more about safety and the virus at your countries’ CDC, or here.
Joël & Jason