Traveling in times of Corona

What you can do to minimize your risk of infection - when you travel and anywhere

We have not been traveling since April 2020. Because we are not allowed to travel. Because the risk of getting infected while traveling is particularly high. At least higher than if I stayed at home. It has to be like that, otherwise it wouldn't be forbidden.

Or?
If I travel from one risk area to another risk area, depending on the country, I have to be in quarantine upon arrival. Even if I arrive with a fresh negative PCR test. And when I return to Germany, even if I return from an area with a lower incidence value and bring a fresh negative PCR test with me, I have to be in quarantine, from which I can test myself after 5 days.

The logic does not reveal itself to me. It depends on my behavior, no matter where I am.

And if I behave in the same and sensible way regardless of geographical borders - what is the threat of travel? Which I also feel in myself. As an indefinite fear. As uncertainty.

Do not get me wrong. I consider the two shut downs to be useful and necessary. From my perspective, the second shut down came too late and the shut down light, especially the fact that schools and universities remained open, I thought and I think it was a mistake. But mistakes happen in times of uncertainty. We have to accept that.

And I think that the borders were closed in April 2020 is understandable and correct. We didn't know exactly what we were dealing with. It is therefore important to create controllable environmental conditions as quickly as possible in order to be able to learn.

At this point in time, however, when a lot (not everything) has been learned, where the population has internalized behaviors, at least large, reasonable parts of the population, why am I not allowed to go to a lonely hut in the mountains and clear my head while hiking or cross-country skiing? Why am I (with children) not allowed to take a break from the stressful new everyday life during their vacation in a house by the sea and in compliance with all the Corona rules that apply there?

The answer that comes as a surprise to many: You can!

It's just made difficult for you. Emotionally. And in fact:

It is made difficult for you to know where to go. And in compliance with which conditions. In the summer I was with my family in Greece, Italy, Sweden and Portugal. <es war beeindruckend zu sehen, wie gut und entspannt sich die Menschen, gerade an die Corona Auflagen halten, wie wenig Corona Leugner wir erlebt haben (keine!) und wie erholsam die Reisen auch unter Corona Bedingungen waren. Jetzt fliegen wir in den Weihnachtsferien nach Ecuador und auf die Galapagosinseln. Nach Namibia dürften wir sogar ohne bei Rückkehr in die 5tägige Quarantäne zu Hause gehen zu müssen.

Flights are being slashed, which means that if you have booked a flight, you will be presented with flight time changes almost every day. You need to be relaxed and flexible. You will usually have to present a PCR test. For Ecuador we need proof of foreign health insurance, a confirmation of the booked accommodation, through which you receive a so-called pass that allows you to move around the country. Ultimately, it's not a big deal, but unsettling: Do I have everything together? Have the rules changed? Can I enter or do I have to go back?

We'll do it anyway. Despite the uncertainty. Because upheavals are always accompanied by uncertainties. This is what distinguishes us from animals: we do not have to flee instinctively or take up a fighting stance. We have the ability to rationalize our fears. To define the potential dangers, to research the measures, to think through them. Develop a strategy of what we can actively do to control the uncertainty as much as possible. Even if there is a residual risk. And a queasy feeling.

And in this sense I understand the statement "Stay at home!": As a "Reduce your contacts!" "Spend only time with the people you live with". And for those of you who really want to travel, for whom travel is part of life, I say: Dare to travel. Under the new conditions, in compliance of the rules, with your core family, with whom you also live, because if you don't increase your contacts by traveling, you also don't increase your risk of contracting corona and spreading the virus.

If traveling means: partying with many other people, going on excursions to sights in large groups, lying by the pool in large hotel complexes, or meeting the extended family and celebrating lavish family celebrations - then I am against it. Whether cross-border or not is irrelevant here at.

But when traveling means traveling into the vastness of nature and renting a house there or staying in a small boutique hotel and observing the rules of distance, eating outside in warm temperatures and otherwise enjoying the solitude in the vastness of nature, on your own To go on a discovery tour with Faust - then it's safe and ok. And it is allowed in the sense of not forbidden to some wonderful regions of the world.

Then there remains the question of flying: is it that risky to fly? To be at the airport? I do not think so. Because only those who tested negative for PCR sit on the plane. The airports are empty.

My circle of friends includes doctors, whom I have interviewed and put together a few simple things to reduce the risk of contracting Covid 19. Whether you are traveling, especially on long-haul flights, or at home.

Fly business class if you can afford it. For that extra space. And maybe the question for all airlines: why in times like these don't you only occupy families right next to each other in Economy Class and otherwise adhere to "new" distance regulations? Traveling with Corona would feel much safer.

Of course, flying is based on the usual rules: wear a sensible mask, also over your nose (...), disinfect your hands, sneeze in the crook of your arm. Then you can use a hygienic mouthwash to gargle a few times a day (3 times). I use Octenident's. If you have inhaled the much discussed aerosols, you can prevent the viruses from "nesting" in your airways. Sorry for the unmedical language. You can protect your nose with an antiviral nasal spray, I use Algovir. Same principle. In addition, you suck Esberitox on the plane, strengthens the defense and also has an antiviral effect in the throat. In addition, I have been taking a baby aspirin and Omni Biotic daily for a general strengthening of the immune system for a long time. The latter to strengthen the intestinal flora. Which generally strengthens the resistance.

Don't get me wrong, I don't want to trivialize anything, I have enormous respect for Covid 19.

It is important to me to know that I can do something. That I can protect myself. And that traveling, a certain type of travel, does not pose a higher risk than everyday life in your own country. I got one last tip for the airplane toilet: Disinfectant spray: sprayed into the air at head height, it lets the aerosols sink to the ground, despite the mask requirement and negative PCR test, which should be there. This is how you minimize the risk of infection. Was also recommended to me for restaurant toilets that reopen or are open in the country of your choice. Sounds funny? I do it, my kids do it.

Continue to enjoy traveling - gladly now, when many are not "back" yet. The huge boats, the excesses of mass tourism. Now you can enjoy traveling a bit more the way it was originally intended: as a personal enrichment. As learning: about yourself and the world. We are happy to support you in times like these to travel relaxed and to be up to date with the changing requirements.
Enjoy the wanderlust
Dr. Julia Malchow

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