Traveling During the COVID-19 Pandemic –Tips and Advice
Travel might expose you, your family, and your fellow travelers to the risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Here are some tips and advice to protect yourself and others during your trip.
- Before traveling: Read the advice and information provided by your chosen airline, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, and IATA, etc.
- Review the updated guidelines related to in-flight transmission and prevention. Follow the World Health Organization’s guidance on the risk of transmission aboard planes.
- If you are feeling sick or you think that you might have been exposed to COVID-19 through interacting with infected individuals, please re-schedule your flight, do not board the plane, and inform authorities.
- Remember: You must obtain international health insurance, undergo a PCR test within 48 hours of your travel date, and receive a negative result before you board your flight. Also, check the health requirements of the country you are traveling to as requirements may vary.
- Before you leave your house: Check your temperature, sanitize your luggage and bags, and wear a mask and gloves. If you are taking a taxi to the airport, keep your mask on and make sure the driver is wearing a mask. Try to use a cashless payment method.
- In the airport: Keep your mask on and do not touch your face if you have touched other surfaces (whether or not you are wearing gloves). Regularly sanitize your hands and gloves with gel sanitizers or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. While checking-in, keep a distance of approximately two meters between you and other people. In the waiting areas, duty-free, food court, restaurants, and restrooms, remember to maintain social distancing, wear your mask over both nose and mouth, and practice good hand hygiene.
- On the plane: You need to follow instructions from crew members relating to wearing a mask, seating, and hygiene on seats and in the toilets. It is good practice to keep a hand sanitizer with you at all times.
- Rest assured that the air quality on an airplane is good - a high amount of clean outdoor air and all recirculated air passes through a HEPA filter. According to the Director of the Healthy Buildings Program at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health1,there is a high risk of contracting germs from interaction in the airport, at the gates, and when queuing.
- If you develop any symptoms inflight, such as fever, coughing, or sneezing, inform a member of the crew immediately.
- At your destination airport: When you arrive at your destination airport, keep your mask on, and continue to practice social distancing and good hand hygiene. You may be required to present your PCR result, so keep it handy. You may also be asked to self-isolate or go into quarantine for 14 days or repeat the PCR. Please make sure you follow all instructions and recommendations.
- At your accommodation: Sanitize your bags, shoes, and personal items before you take them inside and wash your hands properly before handling anything.
- Be responsible: Protect yourself, protect your loved ones, and protect others.
- Rely only on information provided by official sources.
- The UAE Supreme Council for National Security2 advises against travel for people over the age of 70 or those with chronic diseases.
- https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/2020/05/safety-tips-to-help-you-travel-again-during-covid-19-cvd/ https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/travel-advice
Dr. Iffat Elbarazi
Assistant Professor in Public Health
College of Health Sciences