The following guidelines have been put together to help you plan for the safety and well-being of your travellers during the coronavirus pandemic. That your travellers adhere to any government travel restrictions rests on your shoulders.
The Aviation industry will always be on the spotlight when it comes to disease transmission. Granted, more air travels around the world in the last ten years equals quick spread of viruses, but the aircrafts are not the culprit. Wherever large crowds congregate, and mix is vulnerable to disease spread, however, flights have been on the limelight based on COVID-19 travel bans.
What’s the reason for all this noise? Because COVID-19 is a newly discovered strain of the coronavirus (CoV) not initially diagnosed in humans. Well, this novel virus is generating a lot of speculation, people are being misinformed, and there is social unrest.
It wasn’t simple when World Health Organisation announced a public health emergency, but it was necessary to grant the organisation access to more funds to assist affected countries, and a pandemic in clear terms means the virus has been transmitted to various other countries.
Since the emphasis now is on air travels, there are precautionary measures in place that you can practice to stay safe and healthy. This may include COVID test for travel to know your health status.
Regular washing of hands
It is recommended that you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Should this not be available, use a hand sanitiser which contains at least 60% alcohol. Experts believe that the good old way of washing hands while singing ‘Happy Birthday’ to yourself is the best thing to do. Be cautious on the use of hand sanitiser as skin irritation can erupt from steady use.
Wash your hands after using public buses, taxis, or trains. Surfaces like car doors, windows and seats may carry the virus which you pick up with your hands. It becomes important that you wash your hands as soon as you get off these modes of transportation. Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without first washing your hands.
Practice and maintain good hygiene
Covid-19, just like some respiratory diseases are spread via infected droplets of mucus and saliva when people sneeze or cough, and others come in contact with these droplets. The eyes, nose, and mouth are channels via which viruses enter the body most of the time, so avoid touching these body parts with unwashed hands. You may have been hearing this rule since health restrictions came into play to curb the spread of the pandemic. It is not a hoax. Now is the right time to up your game in terms of good hygiene. The focus is trying to cut off as much transmission as possible.
Don’t travel if you are sick
Unlike regular cases of flu that have a 2-day incubation period, coronavirus seems to have a 2-weeks (14 days) incubation period. A lot of international airports are now performing temperature checks on passengers arriving and departing. How does this affect you? Save yourself the surprise, embarrassment, or disappointment of being denied travel permission if you are unwell, as having a fever that isn’t related to COVID-19 can put you in an awkward situation. So, keep yourself and other travellers safe by staying at home when you are not well.
Use cloth covering and cover-up
Face masks have become the new normal. This is particularly so because droplets of the virus can cause transmission. It is recommended that you cover your nose and mouth when you cough, sneeze into your elbow and put on a face mask in public to protect yourself and other travellers. Should you begin to experience some sort of sickness while at work, kindly go home as fast as you can.
Airlines may have declared deep cleaning of the aircraft cabin, yet it is not certain that every surface will get thoroughly cleaned. So while packing up for travel, carry antibacterial wipes to clean your seat, headrest, window blind, tray table, armrest, air vent, and seat-back pocket. This applies to any other items travellers are bound to handle such as TV remote controls, handrails, elevators and doors knobs. Make sure you clean your hands after touching all these surfaces.
99.9% of dust particles and airborne contaminants like viruses and bacteria get filtered by HEPA (High-Efficiency Particle Arrester) installed in modern planes. This ensures passengers get very clean air. But infection experts recommend a window seat if possible, away from the passenger movement along the aisle for added protection.
Should your travel policy permit, you can upgrade to business or first-class travel; this is no better time to do this than now. The idea is to social distance. While it may not be feasible on an aircraft, this is a little benefit. What is the advantage? This will minimise contact with other passengers and guarantee you extra personal space. In other words, you will be doing some sort of social distancing on the plane.
Avoid people having cold or cough
Health professionals define exposure as being within 6 feet of an infected person for 10 minutes and above. WHO defines contact with an infected person on a plane as being seated within two rows boundary. Bear in mind too that passengers use the bathroom, touch surfaces, and move around. The best way to avoid sick persons is to use your cloth covering onboard and remain seated as much as possible. Moving around can get you into contact with infectious persons.
Balance low humidity
The mucous membranes of your eyes, mouth, and nose get dried up by the low humidity in aircraft cabins; reducing their efficacy in blocking out viruses. Based on this, drink more water to counteract the dryness and use a nasal spray to moisturise and clean out your nose. But some modern planes have advanced technology that guarantees more levels of humidity. Should you get on such planes like the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, you don’t have to worry about poor humidity effects.
Take up-to-date vaccines
Coronavirus has no vaccine, but you can take all other important up-to-date vaccines to boost your immune system and stay healthy. Besides, before travelling, you can get a COVID test for travel near me to know if you can travel.
Get updates on travel advice
If you are travelling to other countries, do well to check their Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health for any latest advice and information. This will better inform your decision on any activity you plan to carry out in your destination. These policies do change, so prepare to be flexible and adjust accordingly.
Another important thing is travelling light. Boarding planes with carry-on bags seem to be less risky as not many hands will get to handle your luggage. So, pack a bag that only you can handle while planning your air travel. If you can, go along with food and water. You may get to your destination, and the policy may not allow you access into restaurants or grocery stores as at the time you arrive. Non-perishable foods will be a great help if you can get them.
People who had purchased travel insurance before the novel coronavirus became public may have their medical expenses and cancellations covered. If you read the fine print, you will discover that many travel insurance companies do not include cover for epidemics and pandemics. Insurance policies differ from company to company. It is our advice that you contact your insurance company directly or consult your travel manager to know what to expect.
Get a travel consultant
A good travel consultant is key, especially in this COVID-19 era. Having a travel management company that offers a clear 24/7 emergency service is absolutely beautiful. How? In the event that you are quarantined or denied entry to a country, a travel consultant can help you with flight changes, accommodation, cancellations and alternative routing.
You can also download your travel company’s mobile app on your cell to keep abreast with any changing conditions and travel alerts. Don’t have a travel consultant? Get one today.
It is our responsibility to keep each other safe. If you do your part and others do theirs, it would be easier to achieve the aim of lowering the rate of coronavirus transmission. Contact us today for a COVID test near me for travel with fit to fly certificate to be on the safe side.