Safe travel during COVID-19: Now that vaccination drives have been ramped up all over the world, countries are slowly beginning to open up their borders and welcoming people in to visit without having to necessarily quarantine themselves. However, amid this, concerns and discussions about safe travel have started doing rounds, especially now that the end of the year is approaching. At this time of the year, many people choose to travel to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s in countries where they are celebrated with fervour and joy. So is travel during this time, especially considering the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, safe?
According to a report by news agency AP, experts believe that while travel can be safe for those who are fully vaccinated, those who have not yet received the vaccine doses should delay their travel plans.
The report also cited Case Western Reserve University infectious disease expert Dr Keith Armitage as saying that even if a person is vaccinated, they should ensure that they are following all precautions while traveling, like avoiding unmasked crowds when indoors. He further said that the delta variant took everyone to an earlier stage of the pandemic.
Countries in Europe are imposing stricter restrictions as they are witnessing an increase in the number of cases, with many going back to a work from home set up, instead of a hybrid model.
During this, the US health authority CDC has asked people not to travel if they are unwell or if they tested positive for COVID-19 and are still in their period of isolation, with these advisories being issued for all people regardless of their vaccination status. Moreover, people who have not yet gotten themselves vaccinated have been advised to get a COVID-19 test conducted between 24 hours and 72 hours before their date of departure and also between three to five days of returning.
It is also advised that people continue to wear masks on all indoor public transportation areas. Meanwhile, airlines in the US have said that since planes have good airflow circulation and filtration, they are low-risk zones and therefore, have not mandated vaccination for domestic travel. Airlines in the US have also allowed passengers to remove their face masks while eating or drinking.
Apart from this, hotels have also maintained that as long as people continue to wear masks around strangers, they are safe places for people who are vaccinated. Health experts, at the same time, have suggested that people take a loot at the levels of cases and at the rules for masks for the places they intend to visit before traveling.