Christmas is coming and many of us will be wondering how safe it is to travel this year.
As we write, a new, potentially virulent strain of Coronavirus is sweeping across the globe, covid cases are rising and travel regulations are frequently changing.
So, is it safe to visit friends and family over the festive season?
Safest Ways To Travel During Covid
If you must travel to visit loved ones this Christmas make sure you’re following all of the guidelines to prioritise the safety of yourself and those around you.
Your mode of travel will have an impact on how risky/safe your trip will be. If you’re flying or travelling by train you will be exposed to potentially large crowds at the airport, station and on the train or plane.
Do your best to keep your distance when possible, and you should wear a suitably protective face mask at all times. Airplanes are usually very well ventilated with HEPA filters but it would be advisable to open any train windows to increase the ventilation on board if you can.
Travelling by car will offer the safest route as you’ll be able to control who you’re sharing the space with and who you’re being exposed to. Keep windows open and wear a mask if you are travelling with someone whose recent exposure you’re unsure of.
Make sure you’re up to date with your vaccinations and, if you’re eligible, get a booster.
Wear a Mask
Ensure you’re wearing a face mask when in public and stick to the principles of social distancing by keeping a safe space between you and others whenever possible.
Face masks have been shown to be very effective in reducing the airborne spread of covid. The disposable 3-layer face masks which are commonly used are designed to effectively protect against germs and bacteria transmitted in the air.
While an N95 face mask has a minimum of 94% filtration of airborne germs and bacteria and meets the guidelines from the World Health Organisation for covid-19 protection.
Covid testing for travellers
Mandatory covid testing, vaccination passports and quarantine requirements are likely to play a big part in any travel plans you have this festive season.
In England, travellers who have been double-vaccinated are currently able to travel to countries not on the red list, without quarantining on their return home. These travellers must take a PCR test on or before day 2, after their arrival in England.
Travellers who have not been double vaccinated will be required to undertake a pre-departure test, as well as tests on day 2 and day 8 after their return to England.
Anyone travelling within the UK would be advised to take regular lateral flow tests before leaving home. And, of course, anyone experiencing symptoms (whether travelling or not) should take a lateral flow test and book a PCR.
While travelling this Christmas isn’t yet out of the question, it will involve a certain amount of personal risk and lots of planning. There will be lots to consider.
While government regulations allow us to travel within the UK and to foreign destinations not on the Red list, the answer to whether it is safe to travel this year comes down to your own level of risk tolerance.
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10th December 2021