COVID-safe travel tips if you can’t postpone your holiday plans : NPR

NPR’s Sacha Pfeiffer speaks with Kelley Lee, a professor of world wide wellness governance, about COVID and holiday vacation.


Problem around a new COVID surge fueled by the delta and omicron variants comes just as we head into one of the busiest travel months of the year. And for global travelers, that could imply a bewildering array of journey constraints, tests options and quarantine needs, all various from region to place. We asked Kelley Lee about this. She’s a professor of world-wide wellness governance at Simon Fraser College in Canada. She also sales opportunities the Pandemics and Borders challenge, which researches cross-border measures to manage pandemics. Lee claims if you’re traveling internationally, count on headaches.

KELLEY LEE: You know, it really is likely to be a whole lot of items to navigate and probably a great deal more tension if you might be going on holiday. And yeah, it is really a lot of new procedures. They’re definitely just seeking to gradual this variant down and…

PFEIFFER: Not reduce it, just slow it, fundamentally.

LEE: Absolutely. It – I really don’t assume we, at this level, can reduce it. It is surging about the entire world. And it truly is a matter of slowing it down so it won’t hit all at at the time. And it’s hoping to get individuals boosted in a whole lot of nations around the world as swiftly as probable.

PFEIFFER: Properly, that’s interesting mainly because some people have been pissed off by constraints that avoid individuals from a specific region from coming. Still say you might be an American returning from Africa. You happen to be authorized into the U.S., even if the African citizen is not.

LEE: That is ideal. You – I imply, you make a genuinely excellent place. And people targeted measures in fact were being in no way likely to be quite helpful, since by the time we listened to about omicron, it been circulating for a number of months, and some say even a few of months. So it was truly nearly performative. You know, you – it seemed like the federal government experienced to do some thing. And it sort of qualified exactly where they imagine the omicron variant was coming from. But basically, it clearly wasn’t just coming from southern Africa.

And so we have this – you know, a problem wherever, properly, if governments are not going to limit anyone or at the very least test and quarantine everybody, you know, how significantly can we gradual this variant down? And this is a significant discussion in our analysis for the reason that various international locations have approached this obstacle in distinct techniques. So it was no coincidence that Israel and Hong Kong discovered omicron extremely quickly. They found it in travelers who have been quarantining. And so the virus obtained in, of training course, but they didn’t enable it to distribute into the wider populace. They held them in quarantine.

And that is the variation, is that we use screening to detect contaminated vacationers. But the quarantine has to go hand in hand. You know, you cannot pick up all people. And then if you check but you should not quarantine, then you happen to be not really blocking the variant from spreading into broad – the wider community. And so the problem is, you know, why was not the federal government accomplishing additional testing and a lot more quarantining early on? And we could talk to that of a lot of governments.

PFEIFFER: Many people who have vacation ideas are apprehensive about no matter if they should go at all on their outings. Do you believe you can find a safe and sound way to vacation in the course of the pandemic?

LEE: Very well, I would say, first of all, if you can, keep away from touring at this time. No matter if delay it or postpone it, I would do so. But if you do discover by yourself obtaining to vacation for regardless of what cause, there are ways to cut down your risk. Up grade your masks that you happen to be donning. So if you are carrying the cloth masks, it’s excellent to get the surgical mask but, seriously, the N95. Those people respirator masks are the types to wear, if you can. I know that every person can’t. But do don those people.

Try out not to linger in spots like crowded airports and cafes and so on. You know, just retain relocating. Remain in ventilated spots – all the points that we know about. And then when you get to your spot, almost certainly finest not to go to locations where by you know there may possibly be unvaccinated people today, wherever there are massive crowds, exactly where you can find not mask-sporting. So there are techniques to travel, for absolutely sure. But it is just genuinely – no travel at this time is possibility-absolutely free. And I consider that is what people have to remind them selves.

PFEIFFER: That’s Kelley Lee, a professor of global health governance at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Thank you very much for the details and information.

LEE: Oh, you’re most welcome, Sacha.

Copyright © 2021 NPR. All legal rights reserved. Go to our web page terms of use and permissions pages at for even further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a hurry deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced applying a proprietary transcription procedure produced with NPR. This text may possibly not be in its closing kind and might be updated or revised in the long term. Accuracy and availability may differ. The authoritative history of NPR’s programming is the audio history.