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5 Things to avoid while travelling during COVID-19 

 February 1, 2022

Travelling is something that most of us have tried to avoid during the past couple of years. Due to COVID-19, many countries have implemented travel restrictions, and these restrictions have involved stringent testing and other safety protocols in regulating the movement of people. However, as 2021 comes to an end, a lot has changed, and we are in a position to travel more easily, provided that we take suitable precautions.

 

After a whole year of working hard and not being with our loved ones, we all need a break, especially this time of the year, when the festive spirit is at its peak. But the need for travel is more than just family reunion; it is for all kinds of other reasons, from employment to study. There is a pent up demand due to prior restrictions, and it’s going to have to ease through travel.

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Testing and vaccination have been quite successful, but there are yet a record number of cases due to the new omicron variant. Therefore, we must do everything possible to remain protected as we travel.

 

Present COVID-19 situation

 

Globally, many countries have successfully implemented their vaccination programs. A large portion of every country’s population has been vaccinated and has adequate immunity. The infection has become more spread out as well, and there are not the kind of pockets of high infection rates that existed at the start. Therefore, the old traffic light system that was used to categorise countries into different strata of infection rates has been scrapped. It is possible to travel to most countries if you are vaccinated and are willing to get tested.

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Vaccination and Testing

 

You should ensure that you are fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine. Also, know that being vaccinated does not guarantee that you can’t get infected or spread it to others, but it greatly reduces the risk. You should continue to abide by other health safety measures.

 

Moreover, you will be expected to show a recent COVID-19 test before you travel to many places abroad. Once you arrive at your destination, you will either be required to take a day 2 and day 8 RT PCR test or a Lateral Flow Antigen Test (also known as Day 2 Lateral Flow Test). Some places may even require you to quarantine until the test results are back. For travel rules to the UK, check the official government website.

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The point is, testing remains central to the COVID-19 strategy of most countries, and you need to check all the requirements before travel.

 

If you are ready to adhere to the vaccination and testing requirements at your destination, you can go ahead and book your flight. Below we identify some things that you should avoid to lower your chances of getting infected.

1- Not doing your research

One of the worst things to do before your flight in a time of pandemic is to make impulsive plans. You need to be instead more meticulous and do your research. This includes information about the infection rate at your travel destination, the general testing rules, the vaccine requirements, and all other similar factors. You should do all this well before finalising your plans, let alone booking your flight.

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2- Not packing personal protection equipment

On your journey, you will go through many public places. These places will have a large number of people and enclosed places. An airport, for example, is jam-packed with passengers coming and going from all over the world. It is an easy place to get infected. The best thing for you is to bring along face masks, hand sanitisers, and any other personal protection equipment you may feel necessary, like a face shield. Follow the health safety rules at all times when outside at a public place, even when you feel there is no immediate risk. Do not touch any surfaces, maintain a safe social distance and regularly wash your hands.

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3- Not having COVID-19 related documents

You will need proof of vaccination in the form of a vaccine certificate. If you get your vaccination in the UK, your NHS COVID pass will suffice. Although a pre-flight Covid-19 test is not required for travel to the UK, many other places do still require it. Remember to check this before you travel.

 

RT PCR test takes some time (24 to 48 hrs) to be processed, so if you need to take it, give yourself enough time to book the PCR coronavirus home test kit from a reliable provider, get it delivered, take the test, return the sample, and have your results back. In contrast, the Lateral Flow Test kit is much simpler and the sample is processed on the spot within minutes. All this is assuming that your travel destination requires a pre-flight test.

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4- Not making preparations for when you arrive

Other than booking and paying for a test kit before you arrive, you should also prepare the necessary accommodation. Worst-case scenario, you may need space to quarantine for 10 days, 7 days if you get tested and do not have a high fever. Depending on the rules of your travel destination, you may be required to quarantine in a government-approved hotel. Otherwise, you can choose your own accommodation.

5-  Not getting a booster shot

 

Lastly, if you can get booster shots for your COVID vaccinations, you should. The new omicron variant has proved to be more transmissible despite regular two doses of vaccines, and researchers believe that a booster shot can help increase immunity. A booster shot is not mandatory, at least not yet, but it’s something that can give you extra protection when travelling.

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