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FAQS about traveling amid the COVID-19 outbreak


What happens during the community quarantine? Will we be able to travel?
During the lockdown, or specifically addressed as a community quarantine, the government is curbing domestic land, sea, and air travel to and from Metro Manila from March 15 to April 14. This limits transport and bars people from leaving the city, unless subjected to assessment.

Should I cancel my trip?
It is advisable to cancel all leisure and nonessential trips at this period until the lockdown has been lifted.
For those who have scheduled travel on a later date, it is best to do research on the place that you’re going to, and be aware of CDC’s protocol travel notices or recommendations on countries that have widespread cases of COVID-19. These notices include:

  • Warning Level 3: CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential travel to destinations with level 3 travel notices because of the risk of getting COVID-19. Some countries with Warning Level 3 are China, Iran, South Korea, and majority of Europe. Layovers on these destinations should also be avoided.
  • Alert Level 2: Because COVID-19 can be more serious in older adults and those with chronic medical conditions, people in these groups should talk to a healthcare provider and consider postponing travel to destinations with level 2 travel notices.
  • Watch Level 1:CDC does not recommend canceling or postponing travel to destinations with level 1 travel notices because the risk of COVID-19 is thought to be low.

What should you do before a trip?
According to Dr. Imelda Manalo, MD,medical evaluator of Medway Healthcare Inc., it is advisable to get a flu shot and maintain healthy ways to boost your immune system, because it’s your only defense for now. Flu shot will not necessarily contract your chance of preventing COVID-19 virus but since they have the same symptoms, it can avoid confusion in the long run.

Is it safe to swim in the pool? Will viruses die with chlorine?
According to CDC, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread to humans through the use of pools and hot tubs. Proper operation, maintenance, and disinfection (e.g., with chlorine and bromine) of pools and hot tubs should remove or inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19. According to Dr. Manalo, however, the problem isn’t whether the virus can spread through water transmission or not, because disinfectants generally kill harmful microorganisms before it gets to our body, the problem is that COVID-19 is airborne and can be transmitted through close contact. “Swimming in a properly sanitized pool is okay unless the people around you are infected,” she said.

What are the existing travel bans?
We are temporarily banned from traveling to China and its Special Administrative Regions like Hong Kong and Macau. There is also a partial travel ban to South Korea, specifically in North Gyeongsang, Daeugu, and Cheongdo.

There is a mandatory 14-day quarantine for Filipinos and Permanent Resident Visa holders coming from any international country. Those who were screened for flu-like symptoms will be actively monitored.

How do you keep safe in the airport?
Airports and airlines have released their own safety regulations and protocols. All meals served in the airport undergoes Global Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point standards.

According to Dr. Manalo, washing and sanitizing your hands is the paramount measure, but the first step is to avoid crowds, or practice “social distancing,” as how the government recently emphasized. One should also consider wearing mask. “It is highly debatable now but it’s best to wear mask to avoid catching droplets and protect others if you’re showing symptoms.” Aircrafts have also introduced full disinfection upon request so make sure to take advantage of this as you depart and arrive.

Is it safe to stay in a hotel?
Most government-accredited hotels follow safety protocols such as high sanitation procedures and temperature checking using a thermal scanner and will not allow entrance of guests with fever and flu-like symptoms. They also conduct screening tests on where the guests stayed prior their arrival.

What should be on your travel kit?

Surgical mask or N95

-Alcohol with 70 percent solution, around five liters

-Hand sanitizer

-Sanitizing wipes

-Traveling medications



Source: Manila Bulletin

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