What you need in a coronavirus travel kit
The six essential items you must pack.
The COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread around the world. There have now been more than 3,200 fatalities linked to the disease, with the majority of new infections occurring outside of China.
So what should you do if you booked an overseas trip and are unable to cancel?
First of all, it's important not to panic. Contracting COVID-19 is not an automatic death sentence. According to the Department of Health, the case fatality rate globally currently stands at 3.4%.
Statistically, this means you have a better than 96% chance of surviving coronavirus after infection (although your age and any existing health conditions obviously need to be factored in). The World Health Organisation (WHO) says most infected people only experience mild, flu-like symptoms. With that said, it's imperative that you take every precaution not to become infected. This will help to protect more vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly.
Travelling during coronavirus
It's currently still okay to travel to most countries, with the exception of China, Iran and South Korea. But there are some caveats to be aware of.
Smartraveller has warned Australians to "exercise a high degree of caution" when travelling to Japan, Italy and Mongolia. For most other countries, travellers are simply advised to exercise normal safety precautions. "Normal" means the overall risk is similar to an Australian city.
With that said, it doesn't hurt to take some sensible precautions, particularly when it comes to cleanliness. This is where a custom travel kit can come in handy.
What to pack in your coronavirus travel kit
Your COVID-19 travel kit should be a small handbag or toiletry bag containing hygiene products recommended by health experts (see below). You can pack these items in your regular suitcase, but it makes sense to keep everything together in one place. Here's what to include:
- Hand sanitiser: Smartraveller is urging all travellers to wash their hands often with soap and water. When travelling, this isn't always possible. An alcohol-based hand sanitiser will get the same job done without the need for soap or running water.
- Tissues: To reduce the risk of coronavirus exposure, travellers are urged to use a tissue and cover their mouth when coughing or sneezing. Used tissues should be quickly disposed of – don't put them back into your travel bag and don't use a handkerchief.
- Antibacterial sprays and wipes: COVID-19 is primarily spread by direct contact between people. However, high-touch surfaces can also be infectious. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets and sinks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a household cleaning spray or wipe can help reduce the chance of transmission. Just be sure you use the wipe in the correct way – wiping back and forth will just spread the germs around. Instead, use the "one-way" method.
- Facemask: Most health experts do not recommend the use of facemasks to protect against respiratory diseases. However, you should definitely wear a facemask if you suspect you've been infected during your trip. This will help to prevent the spread of the disease to others. According to the CDC, facemasks are crucial for people who are taking care of someone in close settings. Depending on who you're sitting next to, a flight cabin could create similar conditions. It's worth noting that you don't need a heavy-duty P2 face mask – a cloth or surgical mask is fine.
- Straws: The WHO has warned that food hygiene practices are essential to containing the virus. With that in mind, do you really want to trust a hastily washed glass in a bar or restaurant? While most establishments provide straws this isn't guaranteed, particularly when demand is high. To be on the safe side, add a few to your travel kit.
- Spare underwear: There is a small chance you could be quarantined overseas, based on your previous location and symptoms. As a precaution, it pays to have a few pairs of fresh underwear in your travel kit – just in case. (Check out the latest deals and coupon codes for men's and women's underwear).
The bottom line is: good hygiene can prevent infection. Any product that will help in this area is definitely worth considering.
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