For COVID-19 updates, visit the official government website www.sacoronavirus.co.za for free.
At a time when wearing a mask, keeping your physical distance and practising scrupulous hand hygiene is key, you shouldn’t let your guard down just because it’s the holidays. In fact, to ensure you and your family stay safe this summer, it’s worth adding a few more steps to your regular sanitising routine.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that travel increases your chances of contracting and / or transmitting coronavirus, so the safest way to protect yourself from falling ill would be to have a staycation. However, if you plan to travel either by air or road to a holiday destination, be aware of the risks and take every effort to minimise your contact with other travellers.
If you are exposed to COVID-19 at a holiday gathering, while travelling, or at any other time, you need to quarantine yourself to protect others. This means staying home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. If you are already sick, have recently tested positive for the virus or have been exposed to a person with Covid-19 you should delay your travel plans.
Choosing your destination:
Camping in a remote spot with your family is probably one of the safest holidays you can have during the COVID-19 pandemic. Steering clear of crowds, public transport, busy beaches, restaurants, and large public gatherings (such as markets and concerts) means you can practice physical distancing with ease.
While making your travel plans, keep in mind that restrictions can change rapidly depending on local conditions. And be aware that if COVID-19 is spreading at your chosen destination you are more likely to get infected. You also run the risk of transmitting the virus to the people you live with when you return, even if you’re asymptomatic.
Travel to high-risk countries is not allowed and if you choose to fly, be aware that if you test positive for COVID-19 up to 72 hours before departure, you will not be able to board your flight. The good news is aeroplanes have ventilation systems that help to recycle clean air, so the only risk you have is if a passenger sitting close by is positive. Remember, spending time in security queues and waiting at airport terminals will also bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces.
Airlines have implemented strict sanitisation programmes – but you can also do your bit on board. Disinfect all high-touch surfaces such as tray tables, handsets and inflight entertainment screens, and make sure you wear a mask for the full duration of your journey.
If you need to rent a car, ask how the vehicles are disinfected between renters beforehand. Travel with hand sanitiser and regularly wipe down the steering wheel, gear stick, rear-view mirror and window controls.
When getting together with friends and family members, opt for outdoor venues – such as picnic sites and gardens – as often as possible. In poorly ventilated spaces, make sure windows and doors are open whenever feasible to allow air to circulate.
Public gatherings (such as concerts and markets) with safety measures in place – mask wearing, social distancing and handwashing – obviously pose less risk than gatherings where people aren’t practising these preventive measures. Be mindful of alcohol and drugs as using these may affect someone’s judgement negatively and make it less likely that they’ll remember to practice COVID-19 safety measures.
Staying in touch:
Remember to wash or sanitise your hands before using your phone and clean your handset regularly. Make and receive calls using the speaker option where possible to avoid your face from making contact with your phone and never share your earphones with anyone. Keep spare masks on hand at all times.
For the most up-to-date info on the figures surrounding the spread of the virus, please visit our COVID-19 resource portal.