Golden Week is just around the corner and for many of us, we’ll be traveling outside our home province for the first time post-COVID-19.
With new regulations and safety precautions in place, we know it can be hard to understand how to travel again. To ensure you’re prepared at every checkpoint and that you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe, we chatted with Dr. Reinhard Krippner, a family medicine physician at Beijing United Family Hospital. Dr. Krippner answers some of your frequently asked questions on how to pack and keep your family safe throughout your trip.
Q: What are COVID-related essentials to pack?
Dr. Krippner: Get a sufficient supply of masks, alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol), and hand wipes. Also, pack a fever thermometer. It may help clarify a situation when you happen to feel unwell during quarantine. Your temperature is not always what you feel. Take a supply of a pain killer/fever medication like paracetamol/acetaminophen or ibuprofen with you, in case of need and as first aid, but not to delay a consultation with a doctor. If you taking the medication regularly, such as for high blood pressure or high cholesterol, take more supply than needed for the expected duration of the trip, including quarantine, in order to cover for unexpected delays.
If you are an Expat and intend to travel within China, particularly in less frequented regions, it may be a good idea to have:
- A current certificate of employment from your employer
- A certificate from your housing compound and/or a copy of your last police registration as proof of your present address
- A Covid-19 throat swab test, preferrable performed within three days prior to your trip.
Having these certifcates may reduce questions and inconvenience when being stopped by police at airports or train stations, where Chinese nationals are not.
Q: What masks do you recommend?
Dr. Krippner: Disposable surgical masks appear sufficient, but you need a sufficient supply for your trip. At least two reusable, washable face masks, as they are available nowadays, may be the most convenient and sufficient.
N95 masks may give the best protection, but breathing is less comfortable, particularly for more strenuous activities like pulling a heavy suitcase or carrying a heavy backpack in hot climate. For a longer trip, the amount of masks becomes a bit more bulky.
Q: What precautions should travelers take with pre-existing conditions?
Dr. Krippner: Essentially, the precautions are not different than those from the Pre-Corona era:
If you are on regular medication, take more supply than needed for the expected duration of the trip in order to cover for unexpected delays, including quarantine. For important medical conditions, bring a medical certificate stating the condition and needed medication in Chinese.
If the precondition poses a higher risk for severe disease, be even more meticulous about the generally recommended precautions: avoid crowds, keep your distance, wear a mask, wash hands frequently, and use hand sanitizer.
Q: Are there places or activities to avoid?
Dr. Krippner: As has been shown frequently in the United States and Europe, try to avoid crowded events, beaches, parks, and parties (large group gatherings).
Q: What to check with your healthcare provider before a trip?
Dr. Krippner: Essentially, this too would not be different than from the Pre-Corona era, depending on pre-existing conditions and destinations. It is not necessary to check with your healthcare provider before a trip if you are a generally healthy person.
Q: When should I take a COVID test?
Dr. Krippner: A Covid-19 throat swab test before traveling (less than 3 days old) may be helpful in certain situations, particularly when being checked during travel. Additionally, if you become sick with respiratory symptoms with or without a fever, particularly after returning from higher risk areas (travel outside and after return to China), then a test would be recommended.
Webinar Replay | Expert Health & Safety Tips for Golden Week Travels
Together with Beijing United Family Hospital, we’re bringing you everything you need to know to safely prepare for your post-COVID holiday. In our latest webinar, we are joined by Dr. Reinhard Krippner, a family medicine physician at Beijing United Family Hospital, who will offer key health and safety travel tips and share his recent experience traveling to western China. Jenny Zhao, WildChina’s Deputy Manager, shares an updated checklist of necessary travel documentation to prepare before your departure.