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How to travel during the coronavirus (COVID-19)?

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The government has eased the lockdown. People are now allowed to travel and do things that they have been restricted for the past 3 months. But the majority still fails to realize that things are not completely normal yet. The first natural reaction after lifting the lockdown was to go back to life before the pandemic. However, medical personnel advises people NOT to do that. 

WHO Country Representative for Nepal Dr. Jos Vandelar warns that the virus is still there, and as long as the virus is there, there’s always the risk of infection.

“I can’t stress enough that an easing of the lockdown does not mean going back to life before the lockdown. On the contrary, it requires more self-discipline to protect yourself and to protect others” he added during a conversation with Dr. Sunoor Verma and Roshan S Nepal at WHO Country Office for Nepal. 

As the stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, it’s even more important to follow the guidance of where you live. Therefore you need to be constantly updated on travel rules and regulations before you travel during the coronavirus. The current situation requires us to be a little more self-conscious and responsible. 

Protocols to follow when you travel: 

Below are some precautions to adopt when you travel. The World Health Organization recommends following the steps below to ensure a safer environment for yourself and others: 

  • Wear a mask/cloth face covering
  • Avoid direct contact with your eyes, nose, and mouth 
  • Maintain a minimum of 6 feet (2 meters) social distance 
  • Avoid crowds, gathering, and congestion 
  • Wash your hands before eating, after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose 
  • Cover your mouth while coughing or sneezing 
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds 
  • If soap and water are unavailable, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol

Frequently Asked Travel Questions: 

Is it safe to travel during the coronavirus? 

First things first, do not travel for things which can be done otherwise. Plus, there’s a high chance of you being stranded when a country or a city closes its borders. But still, if you must travel during coronavirus then personal hygiene and sanitation should be your top priority. This cannot be stressed enough.

Follow the WHO protocols and carry your cutlery, seriously. Carry essentials such as water bottles, cutlery, and stationery. You would want to avoid anything that has been frequently touched by others. 

Who should avoid traveling during the coronavirus? 

  • Pregnant women, elderlies, and young children
  • If you belong to the high-risk category 
  • If you are sick, have a fever, or present any similar symptoms
  • If you have respiratory problems 

Is it okay to take flights during the COVID-19 outbreak? 

The virus spreads through droplets from one sick person to another, which is why it is advised to avoid gatherings. You likely get in contact with a stranger during a flight. You will need to be highly self-conscious of things to touch and people you get in contact with. Traveling through flights can be risky in the times of the COVID-19 outbreak. However, if you must travel, make sure to follow the safety guidelines with the highest discipline. 

Can I eat at a restaurant during coronavirus? 

Before you eat at a restaurant, make sure that you trust the safety practices of the restaurant. Ask these questions; Is there good ventilation? Do they practice social distancing? Are the staff properly covered/ equipped? 

Use online payments or contactless payment options. If you are ordering food at home, then make sure you ask the delivery person to place it in a safe spot. And avoid foods that required usage of common utensils or dispensers. 

Summary

To sum up, avoid traveling if not necessary. If you must travel, follow the given protocols. Always carry a hand sanitizer with you. Remember, even if you might not fall in the high-risk category and are likely to recover, you are very well qualified to transmit it. Make sure you comply with the community guidelines and avoid crowded places. Stay safe, stay strong, and if possible, stay home!

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