How to stay safe during Covid-19
Wash hands regularly
If soap and water are not available to clean your hands, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Experts agree that washing with good old-fashioned hand soap and water for at least 20 seconds (which is twice the time of singing 'Happy Birthday') is the best defense and precaution for hand sanitizers Continuous use may irritate your skin.
Practice good hygiene
Respiratory diseases such as COVID-19 are spread by droplets of saliva or mucus, usually when people cough or sneeze, others come into contact with the droplets. So avoid touching your own eyes, nose, and mouth with your bare hands, because viruses often enter the body through these routes.
Do not travel if you are unwell
Unlike regular flu, which is 2 days, COVID-19 has an incubation period of at least 14 days. An increasing number of international airports are also conducting temperature checks for passenger arrivals, departures and transit, so there is a possibility that you may be denied boarding due to fever unrelated to COVID-19. Therefore, do not take flight when you are sick and protect yourself and other passengers.
Cover your mouth and nose while coughing, sneeze in your elbow and wear a facemask to protect your fellow passengers. If you start feeling ill during work, go home as soon as possible.
While several airlines have announced the cleanliness of an additional aircraft, there is no guarantee that each surface will receive full treatment. So carry antibacterial wipes to clean your seat armrest, tray table, seat-back pocket, air vent, seat touch screen, headrest and window blind. The same advice is also sensible for other items frequently used by travelers, including hotel television remote controls and shuttles, taxis, railings, and cleaning their hands after using elevators.
Almost all modern aircraft have HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Arrestor) filters that will filter 99.999% of dust particles and airborne contaminants such as viruses and bacteria, ensuring the highest possible quality of cabin air. However, infection experts suggest that a window seat, away from passenger foot traffic, may offer you a bit more protection.
If your travel policy allows, now is a good time to upgrade to business or first class travel. This will give you a smaller buffer of extra personal space and potentially less contact with other passengers
Stay away from people with cough or cold
Experts define exposure within 6 feet of an infected person for 10 minutes or longer. On the plane, the World Health Organization defines contact with an infected person as sitting within two lines of each other. But also remember that travelers walk around, go to the bathroom and touch many surfaces.
Resist low humidity
Low humidity in aircraft cabins dries up the mucous membranes of your eyes, nose, and mouth, making them less effective at preventing viruses. For this reason, some frequent flyers swear by nasal sprays to moisturize and clear the nose. Also, drink as much water as possible to compensate for the cabin's dryness. However, new-generation long-range aircraft such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner have technology that allows for higher humidity levels.
Get vaccinated up-to-date
If not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, having all other necessary vaccinations up-to-date will help you stay healthy and prevent your immune system from being compromised.
Stay up-to-date with travel advice
If traveling internationally, be sure to check the US State Department website for the latest information and advice. FCM customers can also use FCM Secure - our online global security tracking and reporting tool - to track health advisories issued by WorldAware and locate travelers.
Travelers who purchased travel insurance before COVID-19 became a 'known incident' could be covered for medical expenses and cancellations. If you read the fine print, most travel insurance companies exclude cover for epidemics and pandemics. Insurance policies vary greatly, so it is best to contact the insurance company directly or inquire through your travel manager.
Use Your Travel Advisor
At such times, it is invaluable to have a travel management company with a dedicated travel advisor and a genuine 24/7 emergency hotline. Should you be quarantined or denied entry to a country, your Travel Advisor can help with accommodation, flight changes, cancellations and alternative routing. Also download your travel company's mobile app to stay up-to-date with travel alerts and changing circumstances.