[Note: Your primary source for up-to-the-minute information should always be Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These are recommendations IMB is sharing with its personnel and staff, and we’re making this information available for our partners in case it may be helpful to you.]
If you choose to travel, we recommend the following:
- Visit CDC website/do your research before you travel
- If traveling internationally leave a copy of your passport with someone in the USA
- Wash and sanitize hands frequently
- Avoid touching your mouth, eyes and nose
- Take antibacterial wipes along to wipe down hard surfaces, including your seat and tray table aboard your flight
- Try to avoid common areas – be aware that travel includes many gathering areas such as airports, subway stations, train stations, etc.
- Wear gloves
- Limit exposure to people who are sick
You are more likely to pick up a virus from physically touching an infected person or the surfaces they have recently touched. However, the virus can’t live long on seats or armrests, so the best thing you can do to avoid infection is frequent hand washing and avoid touching your face. Wipe down seating areas, surfaces, etc. Using the bathroom on a plane is troublesome, and the medical team recommends that, even after washing your hands, when you get back to your seat, to then use an alcohol gel hand cleaner.
Everyone should reconsider travel, especially those who fall within the following categories:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Chronic and acute illnesses
- Expectant mothers
- Children under 2
- Flying in and out of an area with travel bans, including layover locations
Regarding air travel, the risk of catching a virus on an aircraft from the air is low because of the way air is recirculated on a plane. The recirculated air goes through a filter, like the ones used in an operating room, so the resupplied air is guaranteed to be 99.97% free of viruses and other particles. There is very little evidence that masks are beneficial in a public situation.
CDC guidelines are available at this site: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html. Governments/airlines banned flights may not necessarily affect your location/travel destination, but may affect your travel route, based on where you have traveled in the past 6-12 months.
Also remember that when you travel somewhere, you may be required to undergo a quarantine for 2 weeks or longer when returning home.