Are you abroad and need to return to Brazil? Health professionals and experts ask questions about how to protect yourself from coronavirus during international travel

How to protect yourself from the coronavirus has become an extra concern for those who are abroad and need to return home. Who was taken by surprise with the recent news and was during a trip, is completely in doubt whether they will be able to return or not, since several borders have closed their doors. 

A great alert worth mentioning is that everyone needs to avoid unnecessary travel, as the current recommendation is that everyone stays at home. It is also worth remembering how the consequences of the coronavirus affected Italy. Although the mortality rate is low, this can generate a very high volume of people needing medical care at the same time. Thinking about countries like Brazil, this could cause immense damage. 

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The virus that started in December 2019 in China has gained great visibility around the world. The tension was heightened with the confirmation of thousands of cases in the northern region of Italy. To complicate matters even further, the Brazil had more confirmed cases, the first case being confirmed in February and published on the Ministry of Health

This 61-year-old man lives in São Paulo and was recently in Italy, in the Lombardy region, exactly the most affected part of the country, and returned to Brazil in February. All family members and relatives who had contact with him are being located for observation, but this indicates that there are already cases of spread within the country.

Amid so much outdated information and a certain collective panic on top of countless news, we decided to go after scientific sources to demystify some beliefs about the new disease. We spoke with different health experts to understand how to protect yourself from the coronavirus and how it affects travel around the world.

Stay on top of expert opinion and find out what the recommendations of the Ministry of Health and international bodies. With adequate information in hand, it will be much easier to know how to protect yourself from the coronavirus during your return trip to Brazil. Here are some truths and myths about the virus and what should be done to avoid contagion.

how to prevent coronavirus

Doctors and entities meet to talk about coronavirus and prevention. Photo: Zoheir Seidanloo

Are there really reasons for the state of alert?

According to Dr. Tassiana Rodrigues dos Santos Galvão, member of the Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases and medical by UNESP, it is necessary for all people to be on alert, but not in panic. When compared to other diseases, the doctor also says that “the lethality is between 2.3%, a number that is not very high compared to other syndromes, including Measles”. Anyway, the concern is valid, since regardless of the low number, it does not mean that the other diseases will disappear. On the contrary, we are going through another pandemic. 

What are the symptoms? Does the coronavirus pose a risk of death?

As published in the Drauzio Varella, at the wow, a Brazilian doctor with over 50 years of experience, there is no reason to panic, as this would only exacerbate a delicate situation. “This virus is not new, we have known it since the 1960s. Different mutations (of the same virus) were responsible for the SARS outbreak in 2002 and 2003, in China and in 2012, MERS, from the Middle East.” 

Young children and the elderly are most vulnerable, as “the overall fatality rate of the virus is 2.3%, but it reaches 14.8% in people over 80.” This study was done and released by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC). Right now, the world needs a break and follow the updates on the case published by the World Health Organization and governments. 

What is recommended to reduce the risk of contagion?

Were you taken by surprise and need to return to Brazil? "Now is the time to reinforce our prevention, respiratory etiquette is fundamental, and it involves hand hygiene, with adequate washing multiple times during the day. Alcohol gel is a great option, including for cleaning potentially contaminated surfaces”, recalls Dr. Tassiana Rodrigues. 

How to protect yourself from coronavirus while traveling? 

Another important suggestion for those who chose to end their trip and return to Brazil, in these times of contagion it is worth avoiding agglomerations or places with little air circulation. This is an easy way to protect yourself from the coronavirus while traveling, so, whenever possible, avoid crowds and avoid making unnecessary exits.

“Contamination is always greater in agglomerations, closed places with poor ventilation, so we must avoid going to these places, and try to act safely, with adequate hygiene measures, respiratory etiquette, and in case of symptoms, seek health services. ”, suggests general practitioner Dr. Roberto Debski.

Am I really protected using masks?  

The infectious disease physician, Dr. Tassiana Rodrigues, also commented on the effectiveness of masks to protect yourself from the coronavirus. “Surgical masks should be used as a blockade in the transmission of the virus by an already sick person, thus ceasing the passage to the general population. Entities like the CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization do not recommend the routine use of masks in people without symptoms.”

how to protect yourself from coronavirus

Experts talk about the effectiveness of masks in preventing coronavirus. Photo: Kin Cheung/AP

Do I need to cancel my trip because of the coronavirus?

Dr. Fabiana Sinisgalli, infectious disease specialist at the San Francisco Hospital, in the interior of São Paulo, believes that it is worth redoubling care when traveling and, if possible, avoiding places with the highest number of contagions, in addition to being updated on which countries are closing their borders, so you don't run the risk of being stuck. These suggestions are essential for anyone looking for tips on how to prevent coronavirus. “People have to be aware that they may be exposed, not to travel to risky places, and, here in Brazil, to avoid going to crowded, crowded places.”

Which countries are most transmitting coronavirus?

THE Ministry of Health made a list at the end of February with 16 countries where there is a possibility of greater transmission: Italy Australia, China, South Korea, North Korea, Cambodia, Philippines, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Germany, France, Iran and United Arab Emirates. But according to milestone updates, more than 110 nations have case records and the number of countries that are closing the border is only increasing.

How to activate travel insurance in case of suspicion?

The way to activate travel insurance in these cases varies according to the service contracted. In any case, insurance agencies are on standby with 24-hour assistance for passengers who are abroad and need first medical attention. Brazilian companies like Travel Assistant facilitate all the support for these cases.

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