What you need in a coronavirus travel kit

Posted: 5 March 2020 4:31 pm

Woman Applying Hand Sanitizer

Updated 28 April 2020.

  • Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand government has changed the travel advice for all countries to “Do Not Travel” (Level 4). Read more about it at the SafeTravel website. As of 10 April 2020, anyone returning home from overseas is required to go into managed isolation at an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days.

The six essential items you must pack.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the world, and there have now been more than 761,018 deaths, (updated 17 August 2020) linked to the disease, with the majority of new infections occurring outside of China.

It’s vital to remember that contracting COVID-19 is not an automatic death sentence. Statistically, 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). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the global fatality rate is 3.58%, (as of 17 August 2020) and most infected people only experience mild, flu-like symptoms.

With that said, it’s imperative that you take every precaution not to become infected, which helps to protect the more vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly and those that have compromised immune systems.

Travelling during coronavirus

SafeTravel has advised all New Zealanders not to travel overseas, due to the risk of coronavirus. Not all Kiwis that are still overseas can now travel home, as options for return flights are greatly reduced. SafeTravel has advised, “New Zealanders who cannot return home, for the time being, should take steps to stay safely where they are.” If New Zealand is in Alert Level 3, domestic travel is only allowed for essential workers and Kiwis are asked to stay in their regions. Whilst in level 2, domestic travel is allowed as normal, as long as physical distancing etc. is adhered to.

If you must travel during this time, it’s a good idea to take some sensible precautions, particularly when it comes to cleanliness, which 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 in one place. Here’s what to include:

  • Hand sanitiser: The best advice is to wash your hands often with soap and water. When travelling, this isn’t always possible. An alcohol-based hand sanitiser gets 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. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow.
  • Antibacterial sprays and wipes: COVID-19 is primarily spread directly between people, due to droplets, when you talk, sneeze or cough. However, high-touch surfaces can also be infectious, which includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets and sinks. According to the US-based 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 just spreads the germs around. Instead, use the “one-way” method.
  • Facemasks: The Ministry of Health now highly recommends the use of facemasks in level 3, and also in level 2 if you are unable to socially distance. You should definitely wear a facemask if you suspect you’ve been infected during a trip, which helps 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-contact settings. Depending on who you’re sitting next to, a flight cabin could create similar conditions.
  • Straws: The WHO has warned that food hygiene practices are essential to containing the virus. With that in mind, you may not 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 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.

The bottom line is: good hygiene can prevent infection. Any product that helps in this area is definitely worth considering.

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