Coronavirus is sweeping the globe, with the death toll surpassing 64,000. As it continues to spread, international travel is a hot topic. While flights, airports, trains and other forms of public transport remain at the forefront of conversations surrounding the spread of the infection, hotels could also be a secret home for the virus to fester.
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Following the news of the outbreak, the South China Morning Post reported that around eight in 10 hotel rooms in the country sat empty.
Travellers concerned about whether staying in a hotel could increase their chances of contracting the virus are in luck, as the World Health Organisation revealed whether hotels are actually still safe.
Appearing on a Coronavirus update video, Dr Carmen Dolea, Head, IHR Secretariat at the World Health Organisation provided some updated information about the virus which has since been renamed Covid-2019.
She says that if people have to travel they should not avoid doing so, but should practise “proper hand hygiene” which should also be in place within hotels.
“Being on travel in a hotel room is similarly an issue of practising personal protection measures,” she said.
“So, you should be careful to wash the hands properly, to use alcohol-based hand rub, make sure that the food hygiene practises are also taken into account.”
Dr Dolea adds: “There is no specific requirement for being in a hotel than being in any other place while being a traveller.
“Similar protection for regular people or regular travellers have to be taken as if for any other type of respiratory infection.”
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So far there has been no confirmation that the disease can live for an extended period of time on surfaces.
While it probably can live on surfaces, it is likely this is only for a short amount of time.
Experts believe that the virus is transmitted by droplets which means close contact with people that are infected.
For those wondering whether they should avoid travel, airports or crowded places, Dr Dolea offers some additional advice.
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“If you have to travel you have to go to the airport,” she says.
“If you want to reduce your risk of being infected it’s true that staying away from people which may be suspected cases may help you to reduce your risk.”
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs up the World Health Organization, similarly stressing the importance of hand hygiene.
The CDC adds: “Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.”
Since the virus was first discovered in the Chinese city of Wuhan it has spread to 28 countries worldwide, including the UK.
There are currently 8 known cases in the UK, with one recovered patient.
The current infection rate sits at over 64,000, meanwhile, the death toll has surpassed 1,380.
Medical professionals globally are working round the clock to treat patients.
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