The winter weather has officially hit and that is leaving many thinking of warmer climates and possibly booking international trips. But how can people travel safely during the COVID-19 pandemic?
One epidemiologist says there are no zero risk activities during COVID, but if people do their homework and are comfortable going somewhere, they should bring their COVID fundamentals with them.
Cynthia Carr says the risk with travel isn’t just the mode of transportation you take.
“It’s the settings before and after that air travel or other forms of travel,” said Carr.
She adds people should check travel advisories, vaccination rates and active case counts for any destination.
“You can’t reason with the virus and say ‘I really need to go there’ because the virus doesn’t care. So understand and do your homework.”
Arthur Silber is a frequent flyer and is okay with travelling internationally, but he said he takes precautions.
“If I go into a place with too many people, I turn around and I walk out. I wear my mask, I use sanitizer. I travel with my own antigen test so if I don’t feel well, I do an antigen test and make sure I am ok,” said Silber.
The number of people flying again is starting to climb at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport according to the Tyler MacAfee, who is the vice president of communications and government relations with the Winnipeg Airports Authority.
“We’re up 157 per cent compared to this same time last year which is great and would be astounding, but we’re only about 40 per cent pre-pandemic,” said MacAfee.
He added that travel over the summer increased domestically and now international travel is growing in the winter.
Continental Travel Group President Daryl Silver said international travel bookings are climbing compared to domestic travel, but the biggest deterrent so far is requiring a PCR test to return to Canada.
“However, if the need for a test to come back into Canada is dropped, we would then see a very large increase,” said Silver.
Silber plans on travelling more, as he has already been to Europe and has a Mexico trip booked, but he will continue to be cautious.
“Just make sure it’s safe. Right now I wouldn’t go to Austria. There’s a lot going on in Austria. (The) United States, I haven’t been there since March 2020. I don’t feel safe going there yet,” said Silber.
Carr also suggests people check the health-care system where they are visiting as an accident or unexpected health concern may still happen.
When it comes to the requirement for PCR testing, Canada’s Health Minister said the government is set to make an announcement on it very soon.
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