How to protect yourself from the Delta variant when you travel
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Covid-19 has impacted travel, and new, deadlier variants have left people afraid to book their next trip.
The Delta variant, for example, has caused much panic- with many sceptical if travel is worth it at the moment.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the Delta variant is two times as contagious as previous variants.
Researcher Richard Webby told USA Today that "the delta variant is a different beast".
“If you’re vaccinated and fully immunised against this virus, then it poses a slight increased risk to you. But among the unvaccinated population, this virus is going to cause more cases; it’s going to spread more easily and more rapidly. If you’re not vaccinated, now is not a good time to travel," he told the media outlet.
Maria Van Kerkhove, an American epidemiologist, told The World Health Organisation that Delta is a "variant of concern" due to its increased transmissibility.
"Knowing your risk helps you to take the measures to lower your risk every single day," she said.
Travel is regarded safe though, so if you want to explore, here's what you could do to protect yourself when travelling:
Take the necessary precautions
Taking precautions is vital during the pandemic. Many travellers often let their guard down when travelling, which puts them at risk.
"There are many things that you can do yourself that can keep yourself protected and keep your loved ones protected against this virus, including the Delta variant," said Van Kerkhove.
She said wearing a mask (make sure it covers your nose and mouth properly), having clean hands, social distancing, and good ventilation when indoors were some of the preventative measures travellers could take.
"Taking all of those measures will reduce the possibility of exposure to the virus and reduce the possibility of you getting infected," she added.
Opt for isolated destinations
As tempting as the beach may sound, taking isolated holidays is one way to stay safe.
Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, chief executive of the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) encouraged isolated trips away from large crowds.
“Road trips and staycations are popular and safe. And if flying, you could easily rent a car and check into a hotel or lodge without any fuss," he said.
Travel expert Helen Untiedt said travellers should book accommodation with open spaces, especially if they are travelling with their children.
"People travelling should stay away from busy cities and opt for small towns," she said.
Get fully vaccinated
Being vaccinated helps prevent severe disease and death.
According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta variant seems to produce the same high amount of virus in both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people.
"Like other variants, the amount of virus produced by Delta breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people also goes down faster than infections in unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people are likely infectious for less time than unvaccinated people," it said.
Van Kerkhove said the vaccines were effective in preventing severe disease and death.
"When it is your turn [to vaccinate], make sure that you take that opportunity and you get vaccinated, and you get the full doses. If you are required to get two doses, make sure you go back for that second dose so that you could be fully protected against severe disease and death," said Van Kerkhove.