As the spread of coronavirus slows and travel restrictions begin to ease across the country, many Australians are dreaming of their first adventure post-Covid. And after months of being cooped up at home, it’s no surprise that people are itching to get out and about once more.
Although many restrictions are still in place, domestic travel may be back on the cards for Australians as soon as next month. Some states like South Australia are already open for domestic travel, while New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT never officially closed their borders. The Nothern Territory announced last Thursday they will be opening their borders on July 17, while Queensland is set to open its borders from July 10, as long as case numbers remain low, however there’s currently no word on when Western Australia and Tasmania might open their borders.
While the thought of travelling again sounds exciting for most, for others, travelling during the coronavirus pandemic can still be a bit nerve-wracking. So we spoke to leading virologist Dr Sacha Stelzer-Braid, from the University of New South Wales, about the top things travellers should do to make sure they’re safe.
Dr Stelzer-Braid says it’s still important you follow social distancing and good hygiene practices where you can to slow the spread of coronavirus and ensure your safety. Before setting off on your trip, she recommends familiarising yourself with your local government advice or the advice of the destination your travelling to around protecting yourself.
“Be aware and maintain physical distancing,” she says. “This may mean coming back later if a cafe or restaurant looks particularly busy.”
Dr Stelzer-Braid says hand washing remains the number one way to keep yourself healthy and stop the spread of Covid-19. This means regularly and thoroughly washing your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. It’s also not a bad idea to carry hand sanitiser and alcohol wipes with you.
Dr Stelzer-Braid adds people who are at a higher risk of getting very sick if they contract the virus need to take extra precautions. Older adults and people with a pre-existing medical condition like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and lung disease are more likely to get seriously sick from it.
“People should be mindful that if they are in any high-risk categories for Covid-19, they should consider travelling within their own state before travelling interstate,” she says.
According to the Department of Health, the current advice for people aged 70 and over is to stay home and avoid contact with others.
Dr Stelzer-Braid also advises against travelling if you’re unwell, adding if you think you have coronavirus symptoms to make sure you get tested. The most common symptoms of coronavirus include fever, sore throat, a dry cough and tiredness. Other symptoms can also include headaches, nasal congestion or a runny nose.
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