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On March 11th 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus a pandemic. This means that the viral illness can no longer be contained. In light of this, some countries have put a halt on international travel. In Africa; Morocco, Namibia and South Africa have banned flights from high-risk countries. Italy, Germany, China, Iran, France, South Korea, Portugal and Spain are some of the nations with severe rates of infections according to the latest WHO report.

There are 19 African countries that have confirmed cases including South Africa, Ethiopia, Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, DRC, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Ghana. Travellers who are coming in from said countries are expected to be under quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

Kenya has confirmed seven cases of Coronavirus so far as of March 18th 2020 and the government, through a Presidential announcement, declared a suspension of all travellers coming in from countries that have reported Coronavirus cases, whether high-risk or not. Only Kenyan citizens will be allowed into the country even if they’re coming from high-risk nations. Passengers who arrived in the country within the last 14 days will also be expected to self-quarantine or proceed for mandatory quarantine at government-designated facilities. This is expected to take effect from March 16th and last for the next 30 days. The government has additionally closed public schools and institutions of higher learning for two weeks and has urged the public to avoid crowded places such as malls, restaurants and event spaces.

However, for some of you, travelling could be essential to your work or schedules and circumstances force you to be on the move. The virus is chiefly transmitted between people and by touching infected surfaces. In the midst of Coronavirus, it pays to be cautious in how we handle ourselves. We have a social responsibility to ensure that we don’t put others at risk and keep infections and spreading the virus at bay. Here are healthy precautions you can take if you’re travelling at the moment or planning to travel soon.

Stay informed

The World Health Organization website is a great resource for all you need to know about Coronavirus. The website has public advice, updates, media resources, guidance on research and how to spot scams. Being knowledgeable will help you know which areas you should avoid while travelling and the situation at the moment. Media updates are also important should anything arise while you’re on the move. Make sure you’re following legitimate media outlets who verify their news. Some of the countries that you should reconsider travelling to at the moment given the severity of the infections are Italy, China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Germany and France. Before travelling, it’s also important to check country updates and confirm whether your preferred airlines are flying to your destination.

Disinfect your phone

We’re constantly on our phones especially when travelling. These devices easily collect dirt and other microscopic agents considering we place them on different surfaces every now and then. To be safe, regularly wipe your phone after using it for a while. You can use wet wipes or soft tissue with a sanitizer. This ensures that you’re not picking up viral agents on surfaces. Some reports have indicated that the virus can last on phone surfaces up to 10 days therefore it does help to relook how we handle the cleanliness of our phones.

Wipe your laptop

Travel bloggers and people who travel regularly for content usually have a work laptop with them. If you happen to be using your laptop on the go, regularly wipe the keyboard and mouse. Placing your laptop at a cafe table might pick up microscopic agents. Since we can’t always keep our hands on our laptops, we’re constantly touching other things and it’s easy to transfer whatever we’re picking to our keyboard and mouse. It doesn’t hurt to stay safe.

Practice Personal Hygiene

When using communal spaces like bathrooms, lounges at the airport, lifts, elevators and staircase railings, remember to sanitize your hands. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom and sanitize your hands often. Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer with you in case soap and water is not available and in this case, when travelling, it will help to carry a bottle of sanitizer. If you have flu-like symptoms, cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow when sneezing or coughing. Don’t forget to immediately dispose of tissue after using it.

Don’t shake hands

Most of us come from cultures that encourage friendliness and even at airport lounges and aeroplanes, its common to greet friends by shaking hands. As of now, it’s safe to keep greetings at only the verbal level because even kissing and hugging are seen as potential acts of spreading the virus.

Social distancing

Inside an aeroplane, unless it’s not fully booked, it would be hard to maintain a 1-metre distance. But in the lobby, if you can, try keeping a 1-metre (3 feet) distance from other travellers. The reason behind this is that when a person sneezes or coughs, it becomes easy to come into contact with infected droplets if you’re close. Since you can’t be too sure whether one simply has flu or a cold, taking precautionary measures is imperative.

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