What It’s Like To Travel During The Coronavirus Outbreak


For the past month
and a half, Business Insider senior
retail correspondent
Kate Taylor has been traveling
around Asia and is now in Australia. Kate Taylor: I planned a work
trip to travel around Asia well before
the coronavirus. Narrator: Here’s what
she’s seeing in airports and
on planes in response to the
coronavirus outbreak and what she’s been
doing to travel safer. Taylor: It’s been
an interesting time traveling right now, when it’s definitely
heightened anxiety. People are
trying really hard to stay safe, not get sick. But it’s gonna be ending
in self-quarantine for me no matter what happens. I started out in South Korea, went to Vietnam,
Malaysia, Thailand. I’ve been surprised
by how busy the airports I’ve
been to have been. I’ve been to airports
in Seoul, in Ho Chi Minh City, in Kuala Lumpur,
and in Phuket. So, all of those
airports I would say are still definitely
seeing people
come through. When I was in Seoul,
that was before the outbreak really
spread in South Korea, so that might have
changed by now. But in general I would say that people are definitely
still traveling. I just flew from Phuket
to Brisbane, and I was surprised by how
crowded that flight was. So I would say that
some flights are definitely a little
bit emptier than usual, but it’s not as striking as I might have thought
it would be. The biggest thing that
I’ve been noticing is the temperature checks. I flew through Singapore
to get to Brisbane Airport and there were
several different
med stations set up where they were kind of
monitoring people’s
temperatures as they walked
down the hallway. So, that was something
I hadn’t seen before. I know that that is kind
of more common practice at different airports
outside the US already, so not necessarily only
linked to coronavirus. And then people have been
randomly pulled aside to have their
temperature checked at
different airports. I haven’t had my
temperature checked at that many airports, but I have had to have
my temperature checked to check into some hotels
as I’ve been traveling. A lot of flight attendants that I’ve been seeing
while traveling have been wearing masks. I would say basically the vast majority have
worn masks. So, that is pretty
much the standard at this point, it seems like. Some are wearing
gloves as well. The biggest and I think
probably the most effective thing I’ve been
doing to protect myself is sanitizing my seat
every time I sit down. So, having some
Lysol wipes, Clorox wipes, just these sanitizing wipes, and wipe down the
entire area before
starting a flight. I felt pretty self-conscious
when I started doing this, just ’cause I was
carrying around a huge
thing of wipes and I felt like it seemed rude, but that is something
that I have been seeing more and more
people doing on flights and actually has been proven to kind of keep things clean, reduce the chance
of getting sick. And whenever you have
a chance, just go and actually wash your
hands in the bathroom instead of just relying
on hand sanitizer. So, stay clean,
just be aware. And if you’re next to
someone who’s coughing, ask to change seats. I haven’t had to do that yet, but that’s probably
a good rule of thumb. If the CDC says it’s
safe to travel somewhere, then I’m kind of accepting their
judgment at this point. I’ve felt pretty safe
during my traveling. I can’t speak to everyone, I can’t tell people
what to do, but I felt safe
traveling around to all these different
countries with
coronavirus cases. We’ll see if I’m
naive on that one. I would definitely get tickets you can refund
whenever possible. I have probably lost
a good amount of money on this trip by getting
nonrefundable tickets, so that is a mistake that
I have made a couple times. Basically, the situation
is changing by the hour instead of by the week or
by the day at this point, so something that seems
entirely safe one day, the situation could
change to something that’s not super safe in
just a couple of days.

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