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How to go on holiday safely in the time of Covid-19: A practical guide

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Source: The Scientists Collective, Maverick Citizen, 2 November 2020, photo credit: Oudtshoorn Courant

It’s that time of year again. Summer is here, the matric exams are under way and thoughts are turning towards some well-earned rest and recreation. But this year, everything is different. With the coronavirus pandemic still very much with us, how do we go on holiday in a way that’s safe? Some of South Africa’s leading scientists offer guidance.

Some people might be worried about talk of the “second wave”, “reinfections” and “long Covid”, while others have “Covid fatigue” and are getting on with life as if everything was back to normal.

Can we even think of enjoying the summer break? The answer is yes, if you follow the rules:

  • Keep your distance – avoid crowds whenever possible, irrespective of whether you are at home, on vacation or travelling. If you can’t avoid gatherings, remain in the group for as short a time as possible, preferably less than 15 minutes;
  • Wear a fabric (cloth) mask, whenever you go out in public and will be in close contact with people, such as in shopping malls, on public transport and especially when indoors with people with whom you don’t live;
  • Do as many activities as possible outdoors;
  • Avoid indoor venues with poor ventilation; wherever possible, open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate;
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap, or sanitise your hands, especially when outside the home and where you are likely to touch surfaces in public places;
  • Stay away from people if you are sick or if they are ill, and obtain medical advice on what to do if Covid-19 is suspected;
  • Adhere to all of these even if you have had SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) before; we do not know enough about immunity yet.
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