How safe is it to travel?
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How safe is it to travel?

Romar Fernando

July 15, 2020

  • This is one of the common queries nowadays, most especially today that we are on the 121st day after a community quarantine was imposed over the Philippines because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Easing some restrictions made everyone in the country more vulnerable.

    Travelling at all means can be risky to everybody because transmission speaks about mobility of people and the virus is taking advantage of it.

    For an instance, the Balik Probinsya program of a certain senator has been blamed for the surges of COVID-19 in numerous provinces in the Visayas region. Airline operations in international and domestic level resumed and yet locally stranded individuals still flock in airports waiting for their flights. Just last week, MRT operations were suspended due to over a hundred positive cases of the virus from the employees and maintenance workers. And of course, the gradual re-opening of public utility vehicle operations: buses, jeepneys, vans, taxis, and transport network vehicle services (TNVS).


    Photo Credit: Reuters

    Now, the underlying question is: How it is safe to travel?

    An infectious disease expert, Dr. William Schaffner, from the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, said it would be ample for everybody to only travel for personal reasons, in any unavoidable circumstances.

    He said that currently he is not an advocate of plane travel anywhere, giving emphasis on their severely affected country, having more than 3.3 million cases of COVID-19.

    Dr. Schaffner is merely concerned with the crowded areas where the virus is taking advantage of the potential spread. Crowded areas such as airports, terminals, enclosed public vehicles and many more, where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.


    Photo Credit: Philippine Airlines

    “All the hullabaloo having to do with travel often brings you in very close proximity with others in enclosed spaces,” he said.

    He told that passengers should be more worried on the impact of travelling back and forth, most sensitive to those areas with high numbers of infected individuals.


    Photo Credit: Philippine Airlines

    “Once we get a vaccine or vaccines, and they can be shown to be reasonably effective and safe and they start to be distributed, then — if we were vaccinated — then we can travel,” says Schaffner.

    Conscious of the fact, Dr. Schaffner said that it couldn’t be some time soon.

    “I think this period of caution will be quite extensive, over a period of months, extensive months,” says the expert.

    Finally, he continuously reminds all people, “Even then, we ask them to do that very, very cautiously, wearing their masks at all time, keeping social distance,” he added.

    Stay safe and sound.


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