We are all experiencing different levels of stress during this COVID-19 health crisis. For the past couple of weeks our lives have been turned upside down and the situation seems to be changing by the minute. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed and anxious especially when you don’t have much control over these crazy and uncertain times.
Global Health Problem
We’re all in this together and although it is hard to believe, we hopefully will be a better world for it! Perhaps, we needed our world to slow down and stop us in our tracks. Over the last couple of weeks, I have thought more deeply about our doctors and healthcare teams and have a greater appreciation for my own freedom. The tourism and hospitality industries have taken the worst blow and many of these businesses will sadly not survive. Talking with my fellow colleagues has brought me to tears and I am very worried about peoples overall mental health from the financial strain.
Don’t Panic | Things Will Return To Normal
There is no need to panic. We will not run out of food or toilet paper! However, being told to stay home and keep our social distancing has been harder than I thought it would be. With travel restrictions in place, my travel plans have been put on hold. Cancelling my international and domestic trips because of the Coronavirus was tough but I get it! “Staying Home Today; We Can Travel Tomorrow” is my new motto! But the question is “When I can travel again will I do anything different?” The answer is “YES”.
COVID-19 | A World Health Crisis
This world health COVID-19 outbreak has taught us more than we ever thought imaginable! When we can travel again without restrictions, passengers will now take better precautions and be more mindful about the germs they spread and are exposed to. Travellers will also think more about taking out the ‘right’ insurance to cover cancelled flights, non-refundable hotels and other travel expenses. When the WHO (World Health Organisation) declared Coronavirus a pandemic on 21 January 2020, many insurers excluded Coronavirus in their terms and conditions.
Naomi Campbell Takes Her Own Health Seriously
In late 2019, American model Naomi Campbell posted a video wearing a mask and gloves while cleaning her airplane space, it was perceived as ‘over the top’ behaviour! Ms Campbell takes her personal health seriously and whether you agree or disagree with her cleaning routine, I would be happy to sit next to her in an airplane.
Airlines & Hotels Fight Back Against COVID-19 By Upgrading Their Cleaning Policies
In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic airlines and hotels have been forced to upgrade their cleaning policies and implement better cleaning practises to help fight against the virus. The benefits of disinfecting public areas is helping to slow down the virus; however, you should still do your part and know how to disinfect surfaces correctly. More so than ever, passengers need to take their own measures to protect themselves when travelling, and this includes sanitising their airplane space and hotel room.
Easy Step-by-Step Tips to Disinfecting Your Airplane Space & Hotel Room
I’m often asked “Can I take antibacterial wipes on a plane?” The answer is Yes. Although major airlines say that plane cleanliness is a priority, cleaning practises vary between flights. You can have the cleanest seat on the plane with a few simple tips using minimal supplies. Don’t worry about the looks you get from your fellow passengers; they will eventually catch on!
Germs can live on surfaces for a long time and can spread easily from human to human by poor hand hygiene. Best practises include washing hands with soap and water for more than 20 seconds and avoid touching your face (eyes, nose and mouth). If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser containing at least 60% alcohol.
To clean your airplane space, wipe down hard surfaces with washed hands and hospital-grade disinfectant wipes. To correctly sanitise your area, wipe down all nonporous surfaces thoroughly and follow the instructions on the package. Surfaces may be visibly wet for up to four minutes to kill germs so don’t rush the cleaning process. Unfortunately, there is no point disinfecting fabric surfaces. Your only option is to pack a washable seat cover and headrest protectors.
Your seat-back pocket is home to one of the airplane’s highest concentration of germs. The simple solution here is “Don’t Use it” NOW or “Ever” AGAIN! Always keep your shoes on to avoid picking up any potential fungus infections and germs especially lurking in cabin toilets.
Airlines Take Action in Response to Coronavirus Outbreak
New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for cleaning aircrafts have been rolled out around the world. Airlines are complying with these rules and undergoing thorough cleaning processes in compliance with international and national civil aviation authorities. This includes wiping commonly-touched surfaces in air cabins, toilets, tray tables, armrests, seat-belt buckles and in-flight entertainment systems with disinfectants. All linen including blankets, headrest covers, bed-sheets and headsets are replaced on each flight.
Australian Airlines, Qantas has stepped up the level of disinfectants they use to clean planes with a hospital-grade solution. Qantas is using Viraclean, which kills viruses and bacteria more effectively than other disinfectant solutions.
Best Antibacterial Wipes For Travel
You may be thinking which are the best antibacterial wipes for travel on the market. Wet Ones antibacterial hand wipes kills 99.99% of germs on hands while wiping away dirt and messes. They are available worldwide and hypoallergenic, paraben-free and Pediatrician tested.
Hotel Response to Coronavirus Outbreak
While there are no international standards for hotel cleanliness, travellers should expect that workers have received proper hygiene training to keep both workers and guests safe. Major hotels and resorts have health and safety checklists and cleaning procedures that are well-documented. But sometimes systems fail us and staff training goes out the window. This is why, you need to perform a few simple cleaning steps each time you stay at a hotel or any style of accommodation.
Get Coronavirus Educated
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces are critical for infection prevention and control within the tourism industry. Hotels, resorts and hostels are also intensifying cleaning protocols and increasing frequency of cleanings in high-touch public areas such as lobbies, dining areas, lifts, doors and handles. Extra care is being taken to cleanse surfaces in hotel rooms too. Thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces ensures that any potentially contaminated surface is left in a clean and hygienic condition.
Some hotels like the Marriott are providing their employees with COVID-19 awareness training. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, hotels and restaurants are providing workers with access to more hand-sanitising stations, hand-washing training and good hand hygiene awareness. Guests also have greater access to these hand-sanitising stations. It is also essential to eliminate any potential pathogens on your hands before you eat, drink and touch your face.
Protect Yourself & Others
But, what steps can you take to protect yourself from the Coronavirus and germs lurking in your home away from home? The first step is realising that not everyone who has slept there may share the same standards of cleanliness that you do at home. A neatly presented hotel room doesn’t equate to cleanliness!
There is disturbing evidence that germs live on surfaces such as door handles, switches, benches, telephones and television remotes. If you want peace of mind, then follow these simple tips to a cleaner hotel room on your next stay.
Read what other travellers have to say before booking any accommodation. Price doesn’t guarantee a cleaner stay! Find hotel reviews on sites like Booking.com where guests share their feedback, photos and ratings on thousands of hotels around the world.
Wash Your Hands and Use Hospital-Grade Wipes
Wash your hands with soap and water and wipe down any hard surface you are likely to come in contact with hospital-grade wipes. Inspect the bathroom and pay extra caution on frequently touched surfaces. Wash glassware, crockery and cutlery with hot soapy water and leave them open-side up to dry. Instead of cleaning remote controls, place inside a clear plastic ziplock bag and use it inside its protective cover.
Wear Slippers or Socks
To avoid your feet and toenails from potential fungus infections wear slippers or socks and limit direct skin contact with carpet and mats. If in doubt, wear thongs or flip-flops in the shower and wet areas. Soap and hot water will decrease the number of germs found on the shower floor and bathtub.
Don’t sit or put your luggage, handbag or shoes on the bed, desk or eating areas. Remove the bedspread as these are rarely washed after each stay. Leave a housekeeping note to let them know not to make up the bed with the bedspread during your stay. Bedbugs are found in all types of accommodation and in every country of the world. These ‘hard to see’ blood-sucking pests are often transferred from baggage by international travellers.
Bedbugs do not transmit disease, but they do leave itchy red bites like mosquitoes. Before you scream “BEDBUGS” in the lobby, consider whether, in fact, the bites are a result of another insect! Keeping your luggage in a garbage bag during your stay and vacuuming your luggage when you return home can help eradicate bedbugs.
On A Finishing Note
This world health crisis is the most challenging time the world has experienced in decades. Many of us have cancelled our travel plans, lost money on non-refundable bookings or been forced to return home early. As terrible as that may sound, spare a thought for the families who have lost a loved-one or the bride and groom, who had to cancel the biggest day in their lives – And, all the people who have lost their jobs and don’t know how they will feed their families in the weeks ahead. Personally, I feel lucky and grateful to spend this time with my family and friends albeit by mobile, email or messenger. Stay safe and take care. We will come back stronger!
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