Amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control has issued various guidelines for travelers, airlines and more to minimize risk of exposure.
“I think people need to follow the CDC guidelines regardless of what they’re doing,” Kelly Campbell, director of aviation for the city of Lubbock, said. “I think it’s the best way to help as a community control this. Follow those guidelines.”
Currently, the CDC recommends all travelers avoid non-essential travel to China, Iran and most of Europe, all of which have Level 3 Travel Health Notices and restrictions to entry to the United States. Additionally, travelers should avoid non-essential travel to South Korea, which also has a Level 3 Travel Health Notice. Layovers during flights are also included within the CDC’s recommendations.
For travelers who are older or who chronic medical conditions, all non-essential travel should be delayed, according to the CDC. All travel on cruise ships should be deferred worldwide, according to the CDC.
While the CDC does not generally issue advisories or restrictions for travel within the country , according to its website, cases of COVID-19 have been reported in various states, some with community spread. Additionally, crowded settings such as airports may increase risk of exposure.
The Lubbock airport is taking additional sanitary measures, Campbell said. In addition to a custodial staff working 17 hours a day, cleaning, disinfectant spray is now being utilized.
“We have purchased some equipment where we can spray that throughout the terminal building daily, but as you might imagine, that’s not readily available because of the demand,” she said, “but in the meanwhile, we do have handheld bottles, and we’ll be spraying throughout the day or at least daily. ”
Airlines are also taking extra precautions, with the CDC issuing guidelines if travelers with symptoms are reported on a flight, cleaning aircrafts following a flight and more.
Before traveling, the CDC recommends considering various factors including if COVID-19 is spreading at one’s travel destination, if one is at high risk of severe illness, if one afford to take time off from work or school in the event of exposure, if one lives with someone who is older and has a severe chronic health condition and it thus at higher risk of severe illness and more, according to the CDC website.
If students ultimately made the decision to travel, they should ensure they are taking the usual precautions.
"Avoid close contact with people who are sick, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze with a tissue and throw it away,” Campbell said. “If you can’t do that, sneeze or cough into your elbow, avoiding touching your face. Stay home if you’re sick, avoid contact with people you know are sick, and probably above and beyond all, wash your hands.”
These steps fall on the passengers, or people in general whether they are traveling or not, she said. People should familiarize themselves with this information.
"I would encourage them to educate themselves,” she said. “There’s lots of good information out there.”
More information on travel in light of the coronavirus is available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.