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Ways to Prevent Spread of Coronavirus when Travelling

Today’s post was triggered when I read about a Canadian confirmed with coronavirus on a cruise ship. As of today, over 900 deaths and 40,000 confirmed cases, which probably means there are more that we do not know about. It really feels like this is spiking at an accelerated rate. So I thought I’d put together a post on how to protected ourselves.

Keep in mind that we already wrote a post about checking your flights to China, as they are most likely cancelled by now.

Note that most of the content below is gathered from the Canadian Government’s website (stay up to date here too), but I thought I’d provide a cheat sheet as there is so much information to sort through.


Symptoms may take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus, including:

  • fever
  • cough
  • difficulty breathing
  • pneumonia in both lungs

However, the symptoms may only present themselves up to 14 days after exposure to the virus.

Vaccine + Treatment

There is currently no vaccine or specific treatments. Flu vaccines are not sufficient to protect against coronaviruses.

Most people will need to recover on their own. But the sooner you consult a doctor to help relieve symptoms, the better your chances are for recovery.


The most common ways to spread coronavirus are:

  • coughing or sneezing (which spreads respiratory droplets)
  • touching or shaking hands (close personal contact)
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands

Protection / Prevention

Stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections by:

  • wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
  • avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • cough or sneeze into sleeves and not hands (followed with handwashing)
  • clean and disinfect surfaces (with regular household cleaners or diluted bleach) that people touch frequently (toilets, bedside tables, doorknobs, phones and television remotes)

If you do decide to travel abroad, some further suggestions include:

  • use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available (always keep some with you when you travel)
  • eat and drink safely abroad by staying away from raw or undercooked food and meat
  • avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets and areas where animals may be slaughtered
  • avoid close contact with people who may be sick, especially if they have difficulty breathing or have a fever or cough
  • avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), including pigs, chickens, ducks and wild birds, and items contaminated with their body fluids

If you feel that you do have the symptoms, avoid (at least limit) contact with others for at least 14 consecutive days from the date that you think you have contracted the virus and call your appropriate public health authority immediately. In other words, I suggest making a phone call to report your symptoms rather than go into the emergency room.

What is the Canadian Government Doing at the airports?

Any travellers coming to Canada who may have been in the province of Hubei, China would typically enter Canada through 1 of 3 international airports: Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal. These travellers:

  • going through these airports will see additional signage in French, English and Simplified Chinese, asking them to alert a border services officer should they have any flu-like symptoms.
  • will need to respond to a screening question that has been added to electronic kiosks for all international travellers at these airports. This question is available in 15 different languages.
  • who do not show signs or symptoms of illness will receive a handout advising them to follow up with their health care provider and provide:

The Canadian Government is looking to:

  • identify any travellers returning to Canada who may be ill
  • raise awareness among travellers about what they should do if they become sick

Hope this information helps! Please let us know in the comment section below if you have other suggestions on how to prevent the spread of this virus. 

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