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Travel advice during COVID-19 pandemic

Important Safety Advice to follow in Train, Bus or Plane  journey or in local transport during novel coronavirus outbreak

First of all, we will strongly recommend not to travel when this COVID-19 pandemic is on our head. But I agree there are some conditions when you must travel, and these do not include going for a tour, itching to go to your parents’ home, go for a wedding/party etc.

If you need to travel, here are additional precautions you should take other than wearing a good quality face mask all the time (it should be properly worn) and trying to make the safe physical distance (6 feet or about 1 cow long distance).

We have divided the recommendation into three parts, things you should do before the journey, things you should take care of during the journey and things to do after the journey. Some of these also apply to your local public transport in this time of coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, we will also recommend things you should keep an eye for before deciding the journey and what are risks of the journey. We ave also simplified the travel guidelines of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


TRAVEL PRECAUTIONS DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
What to do if you have to go for a journey when novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is spreading?


> Things to do before you start the journey

> Things to do during the journey

> Things to do after the journey

> Precautions for using local public transport

> Who should not use public transport?


Things you should do before the journey during coronavirus pandemic

1. Carry at least an additional side bag, be it sling bag, back-pack or just a plastic bag if it is allowed. In the whole journey, you will open this bag only. This bag will have all your edible items, sanitizer, drinking water bottle (keep extra bottles, don’t buy during the journey), paper soap, napkins, diary, a good amount of tissue papers, all time-pass stuff and medicine if required during the journey. You will not open the other main bag that has your clothes and other stuff that you will need at destination only.

2. Preferably wear spectacles along with the mask. Infection can come through eyes also.

3. Keep enough sanitizer that has 60%-80% alcohol. Herbal sanitizer without alcohol is useless. Trying to kill coronavirus with herbal sanitizer will be like trying to kill your enemy warrior with a rubber bullet.


Safety measures to be taken during the journey amid COVID-19 pandemic

1. During the journey, we may touch things that are used by the public. These could be doorknobs, taps, door handle etc. Try to avoid touching such things as much as possible. But few things we can not avoid touching, so touch those preferably with tissue paper. If you are touching with direct hand immediately sanitize your hand.

2. We can clean our hands by soap under a tap but its handle (head) could be infected by anyone washing hands/face/nose before you and when you close the tap after washing hands, they can infect you. So, rinse handle of tap with soap water while washing your hands. And please don’t wash your face in public places.

3. Travel with a mindset that everyone around you could be infected as you never know who could actually be. So, maintain a safe distance.

4. Avoid outside food even if it is served free. If allowed, take your well-cooked home-made food or properly washed fruits. You make take packed food items from outside that was packed a few days back but we will still not recommend it as the outer surface could be infected.

5. Don't touch your face without cleaning your hands.

6. Make sure to maintain 6 feet distance except for people who are not coming from your house.

7. If you are sitting very close to others you don't live with, make sure to wear Face cover and cover your head as well.


Things to do after the journey during COVID-19 pandemic

In crowded places like bus, plane or train, many orally secreted droplets will land of your clothes, baggage, shoes or even on the body. Mask and spectacles would have saved your face but the virus could still be there on these things. So soon after reaching your destination, try to follow these instructions (you should also use these precautions after coming home from outside especially from the crowded area):

1. Shoes are big spreader of the novel coronavirus. So, Remove your shoes preferably outside your home, or if it’s a hotel room remove in corner of it.

2. Keep your bags on a cloth or newspaper. If you directly kept at the table/floor, viral particles may reach that surface.

3. Go for a bath and put your clothes also for washing.

4. This step is if you are coming home after a journey: Open your bags and wash hands. From the bag that was not opened during the journey, take out everything with a clean hand and keep at a clean place. 

Now open that small side bag that you opened during the journey. Take out everything and keep on the same cloth/newspaper where you kept the bag. Wash/sanitize everything except edible items. Also, wash both the bags and the cloth on which you kept it.

5. If your destination is a Hotel/lodge, follow these steps: Sanitize outside of your bags by spraying a good amount of sanitizer. If a rack is available, take out everything from the clean bag and keep in/on the rack and put that bag in a corner. Wash it if it's possible, or spray it with sanitizer.

Now take out all stuff from small side bag that was opened during the journey, sanitize/wash those things, and if possible, wash this bag also. If it’s a polybag, discard it in the dustbin. Also, discard the newspaper on which you kept those bags. You must also sanitize doorknob and door handle.

5. Sanitize your mobile, wallet, keys etc. that were in your pocket.


Precautions to be taken in local transport amid 

COVID-19

You need to cover your face always and maintain physical distancing. Additionally, follow the following precautions:

1. If the journey is short, try not to eat or drink during it.

2. Avoid touching surfaces. If you have to, touch with tissue paper and throw that paper in the dustbin. If you are touching with bare hands, sanitize your hands after it.

3. Keep sanitizing your hands.

4. Don't touch your face.

5. When you get back home, follow the precautions written above section for what to do after the journey.


Things to keep in mind before deciding for a journey in corona time 

1. Is COVID-19 spreading fast at your destination location? If it is, please prefer not to go as you can easily get infected during local transportation in the city.

2. Is COVID-19 spreading fast at your location? If yes, it is even better that you don't go. Why?

a. You may carry infection with you and infect people at destination. These can be your dear ones if you are going to your friends or family.

b. If you are going away from your family carrying the infection, you may get sick at a place where there is nobody to take care of you.

3. If you are going by any bus or train, check if it has a stoppage at locations where COVID-19 is prevalent as this will increase the chance of infected people travelling with you.

Given the above three scenarios, it depends on you if you really want to take the risk.


Who should not travel on public transport during coronavirus time?

1. People who are sick especially who have any symptoms of COVID-19 are not recommended to travel. Click here to find symptoms of COVID-19.

2. People who recently (within last 2 weeks) had close contact (less than 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) with a confirmed COVID-19 infected person.

3. Obviously, if someone is COVID-19 positive.

4. Oldage people especially above 60 and people with other comorbidities leading to increased risk of novel coronavirus infection.

People who ave following illness are in the high-risk category due to COVID-19 (List exported from CDC):


But this is little old data. We need to look for updated data from some large scale analysis. Two of the largest data currently available are from CDC, USA and from NCDC, India

CDC data indicate people with cardiovascular disease (32%), diabetes (30%), and chronic lung disease (18%) are in the highest risk to get severely ill and die due to COVID-19. 

The data from NCDC, India indicate among the dead individuals, the most common comorbidities were hypertension, diabetes and liver diseases. The interesting information from India is about 40% of dead COVID-19 patients had no known underlying health issue. This reflects that many Indians don't know about their health issues. This include about half of the unaware diabetics.  

Another publication under review from South Africa indicates people with uncontrolled diabetes have very high risk. So people having such health issues should avoid travelling.


These are all the precautions for travel friends. Please make sure to wear your face cover properly and not to do these mistakes.

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Stay safe, stay happy.

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