Q&A How to protect yourself when travelling during the coronavirus (COVID-2019) outbreak
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[00:00:07.06]
Dr. Dale, thank you very much for being with us first and and let's start with the really most basic question people may have asking themselves, should I cancel my travel?

[00:00:19.08]
No, no. So during this Corona virus outbreak, W.H.O. has specifically said that there shouldn't be any travel or trade restrictions. This includes most places in in China. The risk of being infected is low in many countries. The epicenter is themeless. We know in the Hubei province in China, some countries we know that they have issued a quarantine of people coming home. This is usually based on a risk assessment identified by individual countries. And the travellers should not really cancel their plans, but they should take into account the various restrictions that airlines have put in place when planning for their next trips.

[00:01:07.00]
There is cabin environment, plane cabin dangerous in any way?

[00:01:13.00]
No, absolutely not. We know that the virus so far is transmitted via droplets or for mites, which means a close contact with people that are infected and that are shedding viruses. It is possible that the virus can live on surfaces as well, but for a short amount of time, the best thing to do in a cabin is to practice proper hand hygiene, to wash hands properly with soap and water, or to use the alcohol-based rob and to use coughing etiquette and to really keep the distance from people that are coughing or having symptoms.

[00:01:53.06]
Well, you already answered my next question about. About the measures people can take, but how different it is from what we recommend. Let's say for for seasonal influenza is not different at all.

[00:02:04.07]
Similar to the seasonal influenza. People should be practicing the regular protection measures for a respiratory infections, which means, as I said, coughing etiquette. Make sure you sneeze and you cough into your elbow. Make sure you use a tissue when you use sneeze or cough and you throw away these tissue in a bin. Make sure you keep your hands clean and make sure that you also have prepare your food using the regular food hygiene practices. Now, let's talk about a very important group of people.

[00:02:38.06]
That's people working in airplanes. Cabin crews. What they should do, what precautions they should take. They should take similar precautions as the passengers. In addition, they should also be aware of the guidance that the air airline cruises and the crew and crews of airlines have put in place through the idea that the National Association of Airline Transportation. They also have the beat and a requirement to care for suspect cases in the plane. And they have specific guidelines on how to do that.

[00:03:13.06]
Meaning isolation of patient of suspect patients, meaning keeping distance from passengers that may be in contact with them, providing the passengers that are suspected cases with regular materials for a proper respiratory hygiene mean providing them tissues, allowing specific places for the passenger that may be sick in the plane. Now we see lots of people using masks. How effective those masks are? The masks are very effective for protecting people that are sick from preventing them to share shares, to shed the virus or to transmit the virus onward.

[00:03:51.05]
For people that are not sick, mass are not very effective. It's also important to make sure you use the mask properly and to not touch the exterior of the mask, even if you are if you are not sick. The B the mass are also important for people that are caring for sick passengers, which is secret travellers or sick people, which is the health care workers. So it would be important that people that most need this, Max masks have the access to those through the masks.

[00:04:24.05]
Thank you very much. Now we see lots of stigmatization of people of Asian origin during this novel Corona virus outbreak. So the question we get, for example, I see lots of two groups from China. Should I be hurt? No, not at all. In the virus originated in China, in the specific provinces in China. And the Chinese authorities have taken extraordinary measures to protect the world for spreading externally the virus. That means that people from other provinces are not that high risk and they shouldn't be discriminated or stigmatized for just.

[00:05:06.04]
Beinga coming from a country that has one province with large numbers of outbreaks. What precautions should be taken by airport workers?

[00:05:19.01]
Airport workers should practice the same hygiene protection measures. As for any other workers, for the moment, we know that the virus can subsist for maybe half an hour on external surfaces. But this shouldn't there not? There's no evidence that the virus can be transmitted by just touching the luggage of other people. So airport workers should also be aware of where they can have the protection equipment. They should be aware of the rules and and procedures that are in place in the airports, in line with the regulations of international regulations, and should themselves protect themselves from getting the virus with the regular measures that we have mentioned before.

[00:06:07.01]
We will continue with our questions. We are receiving lots of questions from you. Watching us on our Twitter account and on our Facebook page, some of those questions I see we have already answered. Maybe we will answer those and we will try to get a few of yours. Next question is, what about hotel rooms, people who are travelling? What precautions they should take when being in a hotel rooms.

[00:06:30.03]
During the travels, being on travel in a hotel room is similarly an issue of practicing personal protection measures. So it should be careful to wash their hands properly to use alcohol-based the rubbing of the hands. Make sure that the hand that the food hygiene practices are also taken into account and there is no specific requirement for being in the hotel than being in any other place while a traveler. Similar protection for regular people or regular travellers have to be taken for any other.

[00:07:07.05]
As if for any other type of respiratory infections, as we mentioned before. Should I avoid crowded places like airports in general?

[00:07:18.02]
If you have to travel, you have to go to the airport. However, if you if you want to reduce your risk of being infected, it's true that staying away from people which may be suspected cases, it may help you to reduce your risk. This is a very interesting one, and I think it would be really good to answer if I was on a flight with someone who was subsequently confirmed as infected person with the novel Corona virus.

[00:07:47.04]
What should I do as a passenger in? If somebody in your plane has been suspected of having a Corona virus, the passenger crew knows the rules of procedures and they would ask all the passengers sitting two rows behind or two rows ahead of the suspect cases to feeling what they call a personal locate. The four, which is a form where you provide your contact details in case the authorities need to contact you. If you indeed need to be contacted as a as if the case turns out to be positive.

[00:08:21.08]
You would then turn to be a contact of of a case and you would need them to take precautions yourself and monitor yourself for 14 days for symptoms like fever, coughing, shortness of breath or general fatigue. We were talking so far about planes, but we get questions about cruise ships. So the question is, how about cruise ships? Should those travel plans be cancelled?

[00:08:51.00]
No, it's a similar situation as with the place. If precautions are taken for the cruises, particularly to have on board of the cruises the preparedness to be have preparedness measures onboard of the cruise and be able to provide the attention to the potential suspect cases on the cruise ship. These these trips should not be cancelled. And we are in discussions with the International Maritime Organisation because we know that a number of ships are now in a difficult situation because of cases that have been detected onboard of these ships.

[00:09:28.08]
And we are discussing with the authorities from the International Maritime Organisation how to address best the situation of the people on these ships. Thank you very much. We may now try to answer some questions from from the public and the questions that come with regularly. You already touched upon that. But people want to be clear. Is this airborne virus or it's just droplets? This is droplets. This is not an airborne virus. The virus is transmitted via droplets from people that are coughing or sneezing.

[00:10:03.00]
Get there at very close contact with with somebody. So for the moment, we know that the virus is not an aerosol airborne transmission.

[00:10:13.04]
Thank you. We have a question from Vienna to how to protect a baby on an airplane, given that baby cannot wear the mask.

[00:10:22.00]
The babies should be protected by the parents in the same way that the parents are protecting themselves. So keeping them away from people that may show symptoms that may call force NESA, try to keep the baby close to the mother or the parents so that it doesn't get into he or she doesn't get into contact with suspect people on the plane. We get to a couple of questions on head hygiene. So, for example, Mahmood Mohammed IRONMONGER is asking is it enough to wash hands with a tap water which must be washed with the antiseptic products or alcohol?

[00:10:58.09]
We have another question from Nigeria, from FULLERTON. So do llamo saying how many times per day we should wash hands?

[00:11:06.05]
You should wash your hands as long as they get into contact with with dirt's. So for hands that are dirty, you use soap and water and you wash them properly as easily as for any type of hand hygiene measures. If your hands are not dirty, you can just use alcohol-based the rubbing. So it's not a matter of a fix. How many days? But as long as it is required for you to keep a proper hand hygiene.

[00:11:40.05]
Now again, we go back to the cabin crew members and log on. Smart is asking what are the risks to cabin crew in unclosed environments or cleaning toilets? Close contacts with the passengers.

[00:11:55.03]
Yeah. So cabin crew should protect themselves first if they suspect that their case is on board. They also have to have available the necessary equipment for self-protection and the necessary equipment for protecting additional passengers. And these coming through the standard procedures of international. So before travelling, the cabin crew should make sure that they have protection for their own personnel as well as additional protection for people that may come may become sick on board. We have John Cedrik asking how many days are the incubation period for this virus?

[00:12:36.02]
The maximum incubation. That is 14 days. But we've seen studies that show that it can be between two and on average, 5 days. But the maximum period to be on the safe side is 14 days. We have Seydel Islam asking, I think, important question that many people are asking. So can we get the virus without any contacts with infected person?

[00:13:01.04]
No. People that are infected, they can transmit the virus. People that are symptomatic, they can't transmit the virus. There's no such a thing as a truly esteemed dogmatic person. Even people that may not show immediate symptoms like coughing or sneezing. They still may have some subclinical symptoms like sub fever or something. And in those cases, which we are now even studying in those situations where some examples have been mentioned, in those cases, it may be possible, but these not fully asymptomatic person.

[00:13:37.08]
So the person may have for somebody to transmit the virus. They have to have some kind of symptoms. But maybe just to clarify that, when we say that the droplets may land on a surface and that it may survive a little bit, what do we know about it? We know that the virus can survive for about 30 minutes on on surfaces of of objects and so on. But we also know that the with the proper protection, hand hygiene protection, we can even prevent that.

[00:14:07.00]
We get the virus from surface contacts. Now we get the number of people asking specifically about Asian countries like is it safe to travel to China, to Singapore, to Thailand?

[00:14:21.05]
We know that in in China, in the province that has the most the largest number of cases, there are measures implemented by the Chinese authorities to protect the citizen and to prevent the exportation of the fire. So those regions for the for planning purposes, people should avoid going through those regions where there are already or take into account the restrictions that are in place for other countries. It's safe to go by taking a regular, regular protection measures. But also, it's important to check with the airlines because we know that some airlines have reduced or actually suspended the flights in some of the Asian countries.

[00:15:05.05]
And we are. This information very closely. Again, lots of questions on wearing masks. So maybe you may repeat what you have said because people are asking, OK. I'm wearing the mask and then I'm asked at immigration points to take it down. So really, what is the advice? Because you see some people very much others don't. Yes. As I said, the mask that import them are very important for people that are sick because it prevents them from infecting other people.

[00:15:35.08]
In some places, for cultural reasons, there is the necessity or the intention that many people wear the mask to protect themselves. But as we said, it doesn't really protect the people that are not sick. Having said that, even if you decide to wear a mask, you should know how to take it down, how to how to put it on, how to take it down so that you don't get infected by touching the mask unnecessarily. What we also know is that when people return from from China or from other places and are asked to self-quarantine or to self isolate that call to check and self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days.

[00:16:17.03]
If you have symptoms within this period of time, you need to call your immediate medical emergency clinic. And if you go to the medical facility, you have to wear a mask so that you don't do infect the people in there and the people you are traveling with, because if you have symptoms, you already seem to be probably having the disease.

[00:16:40.00]
Thank you. Interesting question from a bygone Biyani. He says Since people need to bring up alcohol products so sanitizes, can security arrangements of airports be amended to low allow passengers to bring more than 100 milliliters on their carry on bags? That is the question that we need to discuss with our colleagues for the moment. The the products, the alcohol products are available in small bottles of 100 meters. And you don't really need for a long travel more than more than that.

[00:17:12.02]
So that is what we can say at this moment.

[00:17:16.09]
Again, question I think you partially answered, but if I had close contact with someone who has 20 19 novel Corona virus, what should I do?

[00:17:29.08]
If you know that you have been in contact with somebody that was diagnosed with Corona virus, you should monitor yourself for the symptoms for 14 days because you may have been infected. You may have gotten the virus from this person that was positive. But while monitoring your symptoms, as we said, checked your fever, your temperature. Morning in the evening. See whether you get any fever, shortness of breath or any other symptoms or cough. Contact your health facility, wear a mask when you go there and make sure you don't get in contact with other people.

[00:18:08.00]
If you if you suspect, you may have been infected as well. We have another question from Sargodha Pereira about airline stuff we mentioned. Cabin crew stuff we mentioned were workers at the airport. I guess this applies to airline as well. Yeah, exactly the same. The same advice. OK. So the other question is about droplets. So what is the advice, the distance we should keep to avoid this contact with droplets?

[00:18:37.00]
We advise one meter distance. So that's what we can say at this moment. Coughing closer than one metre droplets can can stay in the air and they can be transmitted and inhaled by the people with whom you are in discussion or with whom you are close by.

[00:18:57.03]
We get to more questions on really on air and the possible aerosol infection. So we have I mean, she's asking, is the air that we breathe in an airplane safe? Then Sassine is asking, what about Paracel infection? Is it possible? So just to repeat again. Yes, exactly. questionWhy we answered already. But just to say that the air in the cabin is actually clean and circulated, that there a specific system to ventilate that the air in the in the airline cabins.

[00:19:30.01]
And as we said, for now, we know that the via this particular virus is only transmitted via droplets. So not airborne. And that's I assume when we talk when you talk about the droplets surviving for a certain amount of time, that also talks about lavatory and bathrooms, you know, in a plane and how safe they are. Yeah.

[00:19:52.06]
It's as long as you take the precautions you love. You wash your hands properly when you go to the bathroom, you use your alcohol based sanitizer or rub your hands if you feel you need that. I think it's OK. As a protection self-protection measure. So I think questions we are coming out more or less along those lines that we already explained. So maybe just before we we conclude our discussion, maybe one final word and key message for people around the world who are watching us and who want to or plan to travel.

[00:20:28.08]
So the key message is you should not change your travel plans. If you have plans to travel during this time, you should be aware of what countries have put in place in terms of restrictions and plan your trips accordingly. And you should make sure that you practice the hygiene and the hand hygiene and their expiratory hygiene as advised by W.H.O. and by your practitioners to practice a proper coughing etiquette, to wash your hands properly and to really use the same similar measures that you use for any type of respiratory disease like influenza, for example, or any other coronaviruses.

[00:21:11.00]
And maybe one message for our very important colleagues who work at the airports while working in airplanes and who are working for airline companies. We also understand that they are also under a lot of stress and duress during this time. And we appreciate all the efforts that their lines that are still maintaining the flights are providing the efforts and their dedication they provide. We know that they also have the measures and the standard procedures in place for the crews and for the taking care of the passengers on board.

[00:21:46.05]
And we appreciate their actions, their interest and commitment to apply all these procedures that we are also advising.

[00:21:55.08]
Thank you very much. I would like to thank you, Dr. Karp, Carmen de La, who is the head of W.H.O. Secretariat of the International Health Regulations for these extensive answers. I hope this was very helpful to all of you who were planning or planned to travel. We would like to thank all of all of all of the viewers who watched us on our platforms, a Twitter account and Facebook blog. I understand that we had people on line from India, Philippines, China, Nigeria, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Qatar, New Zealand, Emirates, Kenya, Afghanistan, South Africa, Italy, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Botswana, Vietnam and many others.

[00:22:34.09]
I was sure a very nice day and hope to see you soon again. Thank you. Thank you.