December of 2019, the world woke up to news from Wuhan, China of an infectious virus, the Coronavirus which affected the respiratory tract of its victims and with no WHO recommended vaccine yet, what started as a few cases quickly spread to millions of people across the globe!
But you probably know about this Covid-19 pandemic outbreak anyway.
The reality is many countries tried nipping the Covid-19 virus in the bud by announcing lockdown restrictions, school and workplace closures. But then again, as you probably know, this couldn’t be sustained for longterm.
Lockdown had to be cancelled eventually by relevant authorities and stakeholders and regular people got back to their lives, only now what medical practitioners casually like to call the New Normal!
As with the transmission rates, number of new cases of Covid-19 have continued to skyrocket as more people exchange contacts, turn down guidelines and most evidently, travel.
For this reason, I’ll be exploring thirty nine Covid-19 safety tips for commuting within your city and travelling far and wide.
All contributions are welcome at the end of this article.
All round tips to keep you safe and healthy.
1. Always wear your face mask properly. The other day, a non-face-mask-wearing Lagosian approached me to ask if my face mask was stressing me out. Like what?! Best way to stay safe from Covid-19 is to wear a face mask. It’s a respiratory infection. Remember?
2. Using visors is recommended but not without a face mask. Picture someone sneezing behind you and you have just a visor on. Trust me, it still gets in.
3. Discard your face mask correctly. I saw a documentary about people dumping their used face masks in the ocean! My gosh, please don’t do that. Dispose in waste bins.
4. Do not hang your face mask on your chin. It doesn’t work that way.
5. Never remove your face mask when speaking. Oops, you may infect someone or the other way around.
6. Adjust your face mask so they don’t sag when you speak. Best if you’re participating in some public engagements.
7. Sewing your face mask means you have to be extra mindful. It’s recommended you use three layers of material.
8. If you have reusable or cloth face mask, wash with soap and iron after usage.
9. When shopping for face masks, do not ‘test’ or wear them. Also, wash before use.
10. Don’t touch your face!
11. Keep a good distance from people who are sneezing, coughing or exhibiting suspicious behaviour.
12. Sneeze into your elbows. Do the dab.
13. Discard used tissues correctly. Don’t litter.
14. Stand on the floor markings in public spaces or observe social distancing if they’re none. They’re usually one meter apart from each other.
15. Avoid easily crowded places. More crowding means more risk of infection.
16. Wear a set of gloves if you’re visiting areas that need “touchy-touchy,” otherwise avoid touching railings and surfaces. Research shows that the virus can survive on surfaces.
17. Greet people with a nod, wave, wiggle or a bow. No hand shaking.
18. Wash your hands (with soap) and use hand sanitizers as frequently as possible.
19. Call your Covid-19 health care lines if you show any of the symptoms. Coughing, sneezing, high temperature, fever, tastelessness, fatigue, and diarrhoea among others.
On Motorcycle Taxis (Commuting)
I did a comprehensive report on motorcycle taxis (okada) in Lagos and you could read all of that here. Ideally riders are supposed to wash their bikes after the day’s work but to be safe…
20. Clean the seat with wipes before sitting.
21. Have a personal helmet if feasible.
22. Discourage the rider from having any conversation with you when riding. Lethal saliva could come in contact.
23. When you’re commuting, ensure you’re the only passenger. Don’t go squashing yourself up between two persons.
24. Try not to touch the grab handles. That is, if you can. But if you eventually do, sanitize your hands after.
On Buses/Cabs (Commuting)
In Lagos, the government pushed for an alternate seating arrangement on buses and taxis but fast forward to a few weeks after lockdown, such rules are almost nonexistent! Here’s what you should do in transit.
25. Observe social distancing/alternate seating arrangements where practiced.
26. Give distance between yourself and other passengers when queuing at the bus/cab station.
27. Avoid crowded bus/cab stations.
28. Opt for non air conditioned buses/cabs. In case a person sneezes, the ‘bad air’ is quick to leave the enclosed space since windows are down.
29. Use the transit cards instead of paper tickets where possible. Sign up for bus cards.
Aboard Boats/Cruise Ships (Commuting)
I’m happy that water transport is becoming a popular choice for Lagosians especially since the repairs on Third Mainland Bridge (second longest bridge in Africa). To stay safe and afloat, make sure you…
30. Sanitize the life jacket before wearing.
31. Come with your personal life jacket.
32. Do not rush into the boats. Rushing causes crowding.
33. Observe social distancing/alternate seating arrangements where practiced.
34. Do not book tickets for cruise ship voyages during this pandemic times. If you watch the news enough, you may have seen that a number of countries have rejected cruise ships from docking at their shores because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
International air travel has picked up in many countries around the world and Nigeria will be joining part of this in a few days – *September 5
Beyond flying abroad, they’re a number of guidelines our local airport authorities put in place for domestic travel. Nonetheless, you should…
35. Offer your bags and luggage for cleaning at the terminal building.
36. Try to discourage your family, friends and wellwishers from escorting you to the airport. This reduces the likelihood of Covid-19 transmission exponentially.
37. Obey the laid down Covid-19 requirements and protocols at the airport and at your destination. This can include a negative Covid-19 test result, temperature checks, a list of your recent contacts, compulsory quarantine and much more.
38. Avoid taking off your face mask on the airplane. Different airlines have different policies regarding the use of face masks, I remember reading a while ago about an entire JetBlue flight that returned to the airport because of a two-year-old who refused to wear a face mask! Research about airline policies before flight bookings and wear yours to avoid any embarrassment.
39. Limit your use of the lavatory in flight.
I hope that with these few points of mine, I have been able to convince and not confuse you that… heck, let’s not go there now.
To be honest, I’m very optimistic that a cure for Covid-19 would be underway before mid 2021. But before then, you need to know that there’s no such thing as being too careful.
You should use these few tips to accentuate whatever you’ve been told about keeping Coronavirus at bay during your travels. And I want to wish you many more safe journeys.
Now, I have to ask, what’s the first thing you’re doing after your country is certified Covid-19 free? Ha! Someone I know said she’ll hug everyone, how about ya? Like I said, your contributions and suggestions are welcome in the comments.
Continue to stay safe my friend!