The Scientists Collective, made up of some of South Africa’s leading scientists, offer the following guidance to staying safe this festive season, as featured on Maverick Citizen.
After a ‘annus horribilis’, many people are looking forward to a well-earned rest and some quality time with family and friends or perhaps going on a well-deserved holiday. But, with the coronavirus on the increase in the coastal provinces, how does one make sure to travel and stay safe this holiday season?
According to The Scientists Collective, there is a real danger that the virus may spread to areas that have been less affected. People from urban areas, where there is ongoing transmission, may take the virus to rural communities (as is happening now as the Eastern Cape goes into stricter lockdown), and people visiting these urban areas from rural areas may be at greater risk of exposure.
There is a danger if people let their guard down, as we have seen in some ‘’super-spreading’’ events locally and abroad. Contagion happens in nightclubs, churches, funerals, weddings and anywhere else where large crowds gather. We all need to help protect those around us and be aware of our actions.
If you follow these sensible rules, say the scientists, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy the summer, whether you travel to distant places to visit family, go on holiday or remain at home.
- Keep your distance – avoid crowds whenever possible, irrespective of whether you are at home, on vacation or travelling. If you can’t avoid gatherings, remain in the group for as short a time as possible, preferably less than 15 minutes;
- Wear a fabric (cloth) mask, whenever you go out in public and will be in close contact with people, such as in shopping malls, on public transport and especially when indoors with people with whom you don’t live;
- Do as many activities as possible outdoors;
- Avoid indoor venues with poor ventilation; wherever possible, open doors and windows to allow fresh air to circulate;
- Regularly wash your hands with soap, or sanitise your hands, especially when outside the home and where you are likely to touch surfaces in public places;
- Stay away from people if you are sick or if they are ill, and obtain medical advice on what to do if Covid-19 is suspected;
- Adhere to all of these even if you have had SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) before; we do not know enough about immunity yet.