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Christmas in a pandemic: follow this safety advice for traveling and family gatherings

Navidades en pandemia: sigue estos consejos de seguridad en tus desplazamientos y reuniones familiares


Are you thinking of traveling over the Christmas holidays? Travel is highly restricted due to the measures aimed at mitigating the virus from spreading around the world. Although restrictions have been slightly lifted during the Christmas holidays, the truth is that everything will depend on the evolution of the pandemic and most countries have either announced measures where travel and meetings are largely restricted or are waiting to see how the situation evolves. 

The measures put in place vary greatly from country to country. Regarding Spain, they also differ between Autonomous Communities. Some have made official statements and others are waiting to see how the pandemic evolves. In general terms, perimeter restrictions and travel between communities are maintained from 23rd December to 6th January, but travel to reunite family members and loved ones is permitted (although this term is generating controversy) on 24th and 25th December and 1st January. Common sense and caution is called for by all citizens and a curfew of 1:30am has been established on specific days. On all other days travel is only permitted for work or legal purposes or to assist dependants, among others. The number of people who can gather together in these meetings varies from one Autonomous Community to another and ranges from 6 to 10 people. 

For example, if you are in Portugal. Here they are considering not having capacity limits in households on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve but forbidding travel between towns on New Year's Eve. In any case, like in the other countries, the evolution of the pandemic is being monitored and additional measures could be imposed for these dates. 

In the United States, the entry ban remains in place for anyone returning from countries where the coronavirus has a large impact. In many other countries such as United States or within the European Union a negative PCR is required to enter, the person's temperature is taken and a health control form has to be filled in. In Latin America, for example, countries such as Venezuela or Uruguay have totally closed, while others such as Argentina has partially closed. 

Regardless of the country you are in, here are some guidelines to be taken into account over the holidays in order to reduce infections as much as possible:

- First of all, confine yourself if you have the slightest doubt of infection. If you think you have caught Covid-19 or if you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, do not travel or meet your relatives this Christmas unless you can confirm a negative PCR test. If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, remember the illness can take some time to manifest itself.Confinement is the best option.

-Use a mask on all means of transport, especially if traveling by airplane, bus, train, or any other means of public or private transport shared with people you do not live with. When traveling, also keep a safety distance of at least 1.5 meters. Also where a mask at family meetings if you do not live with them and only take it off when eating. Here we talk about how children should wear a mask.

-Wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer.

-Safety distance while traveling and at the actual lunch with family members. We recommend one and a half meters.

-Respect the group member limits to not run any risks.

-Ventilate the vehicle you are traveling in or the room where the Christmas lunch takes place. Keep windows and doors open whenever this is safe and feasible according to the temperature. 

-Minimize the amount of contacts and make sure they are always the same to reduce risk. 

When traveling you must obviously still follow the safety rules such as using the seat belt or a child restraint systems. In this article we offer recommendations according to the means of transport and the weather.

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