How To Avoid Coronavirus and Enjoy Your Trip
First off, we just want to thank you for taking the time to read about this important issue. We’ve previously covered travel safety tips like how to avoid scams in Bangkok, but this is much more urgent and important. We ask that you share this information with your fellow backpackers (and your family back home so they know you’re traveling safe)!
Turn on the news at the moment nowadays and you’ll hear about Coronavirus. With a rapid spread from a handful of cases in central China a few weeks ago to a global outbreak today, there’s plenty of media coverage and a fair amount of worry worldwide.
It’s natural to be nervous about a health scare like this. If you’re planning a trip to Asia then you want to know you can still get on that plane without too much risk to your health. You want to head off and enjoy your trip, but you don’t want to get ill while you’re away!
The good thing is that there’s plenty you can do to keep yourself safe. We’ve put together a Coronavirus travel guide with some simple steps you can take to help yourself stay healthy, because the only illness you want to worry about is the headache the day after our infamous pool parties!
What is the Coronavirus?
Every day there’s a new update on the spread of Coronavirus. Originating in Wuhan, a city in central China, there have now been cases reported in more than 20 countries and the start of February saw the first person die outside of the Chinese mainland.
That doesn’t mean that the entirety of Asia is affected though. Almost everyone outside China who has developed Coronavirus had recently traveled to China, or was living or working in close proximity with someone who had. The World Health Organization (WHO)’s latest situation report (as of February 2nd) stated that no new countries had reported a Coronavirus case in the previous 24 hours which is good news.
How serious is catching Coronavirus?
It’s worth a mention that thus far, older people and people with pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease are more at risk of developing a severe illness linked to Coronavirus than the general population. That’s the latest line from the World Health Organization and they truly know their stuff!
Coronavirus Travel Safety Tips
Personal hygiene is the #1 way to avoid the Coronavirus.
The first, best thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is to maintain good personal hygiene. Wash your hands as frequently as you can with soap and hot water, or use an alcohol hand gel with a high alcohol content if you’re not able to access clean water for a time.
If you need to sneeze then cover your nose and mouth with the crook of your elbow or a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Try not to use your hand to cover your mouth as it’s more likely that you’ll pass germs on that way.
Try not to hang out with too many ill people.
It goes without saying really, but try not to spend lots of time with people who have cold and flu symptoms! They’ll probably just have the common cold or normal flu, but the symptoms are very similar to Coronavirus so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Cross live animal markets off your must-see list.
The current outbreak seems to have started in a live animal market in Wuhan, and the WHO is recommending avoiding direct unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces that are in contact with animals.
Given this advice, it’s probably safest to avoid visiting this kind of market elsewhere in the region. Hanging out at an animal market may or may not have been top of your tourism must-dos but for now you’ll have to forgo petting the cute chickens!
Avoid undercooked or raw animal products.
This next tip could live in any other travel advice article in the world: only eat well cooked, fresh food and avoid eating raw or undercooked animal products. There’s currently no evidence that Coronavirus is being passed through food products, but the WHO is advising caution nonetheless.
Eating food that hasn’t been thoroughly cooked can often be a fast-track to food poisoning when you’re traveling anyway, so no worries with this one. Look for food stalls where your dinner is cooked fresh in front of you and served piping hot and delicious. It’s the best way to eat in Asia for sure!
Airplane Etiquette for Coronavirus Safety
Plenty of people are concerned about the risk of diseases spreading when they get on a plane, and it’s understandable why. It feels a bit unhealthy getting into a metal tube with all those other people breathing around you!
Be reassured though, that modern planes have very effective air filters, and the recirculation systems are designed to keep passengers healthy and well. If you want to keep air moving around you then turn on the overhead vent but angle the flow of air away from your face.
What’s the deal with wearing face masks for Coronavirus?
The news reports are full of pictures of people wearing face masks to protect themselves from infection, but do they work? And should you join the club and wear one?!
Medical advice is that wearing a mask can have some limited effects in stopping the spread of respiratory disease, but the best way to avoid infection is still to use good hand washing hygiene and avoid close contact with people who may pose a risk.
Wearing a mask is a personal choice, but you should definitely wear one if you develop flu-like symptoms to prevent you from passing any potential illness on to others. If you do choose to wear a mask then wash your hands before putting it on, make sure you don’t touch the front of the mask after use, and never use a single-use mask more than once.
Stay healthy, travel safe and enjoy Thailand!
Coronavirus is worrying, of course, but hopefully these tips will help you plan for a safe and healthy holiday. Keep yourself updated with the latest health advice from your government and the World Health Organization and take precautions where necessary. Get ready for the trip of a lifetime!
Did we miss any key Coronavirus travel safety tips? Leave them in the comments below if you have anything that could help others out! 🙂