In view of the outbreak, different countries may have different kind of restrictions when it comes to international travel. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Governments around the world are trying to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. As such, some general guidelines have been issued, which people are expected to adhere to. While it is generally advisable to avoid travelling unless necessary, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that there should not be any travel or trade restrictions, provided travellers take into account the various restrictions that certain airlines have put in place.
If you have made travel plans and are looking to get some answers, here is what WHO says you should keep in mind; read on.
Are plane cabins dangerous?
One may think that because it is a closed and restricted kind of space, a plane cabin could be dangerous. But, it is not so. While viruses can live on surfaces for a short amount of time, the best thing to do, says Dr Carmen Dolea, Head of the International Health Regulations Secretariat, WHO, is to practise proper hand hygiene. Washing hands with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based rub is helpful. As is maintaining coughing etiquette, and keeping distance from people who are coughing.
Dolea also says that is important that you sneeze and cough into your elbow, use a tissue to wipe your nose, and throw it in a bin when you are done.
If you accidentally touch a surface, it is imperative that you wash and clean your hands properly, and if it is not immediately possible, you keep them away from eyes and nose.
WHO recommends that masks be made accessible to people who are sick and in more need, than those who are healthy. (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
The use of masks
The masks are great for people who are sick. It is advisable for them to wear the masks so that they don't transmit the sickness to a healthy person. For those who are healthy, masks are not very effective, says Dolea. You must, however, wear one, if you are caring for a sick person who is travelling with you. People who need masks most, must have access to them, she says. Never touch the exterior of the mask.
When staying in a hotel
Keep these tips in mind.
If you have to stay in a hotel room, you must practise personal hygiene by keeping your hands clean, and away from your eyes, mouth and nose. Besides personal and food hygiene, there is no other specific requirement for travellers, says WHO.
Should crowded places like airports be avoided?
Not if you have to travel. But, avoiding crowded places does bring down the risk of contracting the virus significantly. If you are in close proximity to someone, who you subsequently learn had the novel coronavirus, you will have to take some precautions yourself in the coming days, like monitoring yourself for symptoms like fever, coughing, shortness of breath, or general fatigue, says Dolea.