How to stay safe while flying during the coronavirus outbreak
More than 60 airlines – including Emirates – have cancelled flights to China, however health experts still recommend travellers to take precautions while on planes.
According to Adrian Hyzler, the chief medical officer at Healix International, “Travel spreads this kind of virus-like wildfire,”
Here’s how to stay safe while travelling
Some of the most important advice is common sense. Avoid people who are sick, particularly those with cold or flu-like symptoms.
Make sure to wash your hands. According to the US Center for Disease Control, you should wash your hands for more than 20 seconds. Then avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
Use a hand sanitiser often – especially in places with large crowds of people (such as airline lounges, waiting rooms and aeroplane bathrooms).
On aeroplanes, be sure to open the air vents and aim them at your face. That will pipe filtered air towards you, which is safe to breathe.
Will masks help? According to senior scientist at Johns Hopkins University Eric Toner, not particularly.
“Wearing masks, except in the situation of a healthcare provider, has never been shown to be a very effective way to protect yourself from infectious diseases."
The coronavirus outbreak has already spread to 26 countries, killed 427 people and infected more than 20,000.
But coronavirus is not just one virus – it’s a family that typically affect the respiratory tract. They can lead to the common cold, pneumonia and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS – which killed 774 people in 2002).
There are currently no vaccines to protect humans from contracting the coronavirus.