Travel ban: Epidemiologist says ‘closing borders does not work’

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Many Britons are travelling to see friends and family this festive season. But with Covid and the rise of criminal activities, how can they stay safe?

Travelling during the festive season may be stressful but there are some things holidaymakers can do to keep safe.

While Covid may have put many plans on holds, travelling during the pandemic is not completely out of question.

Dr Kathrine O’Reilly, Medical Director at International SOS said: “With many restrictions still in place last year, people will be particularly looking forward to travelling and seeing their families this Christmas.

“A winter getaway could help people relax and allow them some much needed mental recuperation, after another year disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is, however, vital that employers continue to share up-to-date advice to help their employees safely enjoy the festive period.

“Don’t overlook the simple measures that decrease COVID-19 risk – masks, social distancing, hand washing, and avoiding crowds – don’t drop your guard over the holiday period.”

To make sure holidaymakers are safe, the experts at International SOS have shared some tips.

Get vaccinated

The advice was in line with the Government’s guidelines.

Getting vaccinated and boosted was the most effective line of defence against Covid, experts said.

“An annual flu jab will help protect you from circulating influenza viruses. Don’t forget to wear masks wherever required, avoid large crowds if you can, social distance whenever possible and keep washing your hands.”

Stay flexible

Travel in Covid times required contingency plans, experts warned.

Keeping times and routes as flexible as possible could help holidaymakers make sure their plans would not fall through.

“Contingency plans are more important than ever, as travel restrictions may be imposed at short notice or you may need to self-isolate.”

Keep up to date

Travel restrictions are changing all the time and holidaymakers were advised to keep up to date with announcements.

Checking – and double checking – travel requirements were just “good practice”.

Timing is everything

Allowing extra time when travelling could save holidaymakers a lot of stress.

“Build in additional travel time to reach your destination due to additional and changing travel requirements and procedures.

“For international travel, there might be new forms to complete or extra health checks.

“It is also likely that transit hubs and roads will be more congested due to the increased volume in travel during the festive season.”

Be crowd safe

Covid was not the only thing holidaymakers should be wary of.

Crowded events brought with them additional safety concerns.

Experts said: “It is important to be crowd safe: stay vigilant, keep valuables secure or out of sight, also identify your closest points of exit and abide by local directives, if an incident does occur.”

International SOS

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