‘Unlocking travel and tourism safely and responsibly during Covid: A healthcare perspective’

As part of the Dekho Apna Desh webinar series, the Ministry of Tourism introduced a session on  “Unlocking Travel & Tourism Safely & Responsibly during Covid”. The webinar was moderated by  Rupinder Brar, ADG, Ministry Of Tourism and was presented by  Dr Sandeep Bhalla, Director of Public Health Foundation of India, Dr Sanjeev Kumar Singh, Chief Medical Superintendent of Amrita Institute of Medical & Sciences Research Centre at Kochi, Dr Paridhi Mody, Programme Officer of Public Health Foundation of India.

As countries around the globe including India are now gradually opening up trade and industries including travel & tourism, bringing life back to normal remains a major concern. The new normal requires every industry to take precautionary and preventive measures to protect its personnel and client from infection. There is also a need for disseminating scientific information in a simple way and dispelling myths and misinformation. In this context, Public Health Foundation of India brings and aims at raising knowledge and awareness of participants regarding preventive measures to be taken for reopening of offices/workplace and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of staff, their family and clients during the time of Covid.

The session began with the introduction of Covid-19 which has created unprecedented disruption not only in healthcare globally but also in the development of the country. The prevalence of the disease on a long term basis shows that it will re-shape all aspects of life and where in the new normal the priorities are going to be different.

Though the cases in India are increasing day by day but the positive side can be seen as well i.e. the recovery rate is approximately 58.2% in India. The states have come up with various models for this pandemic which is also a positive side for our country. This is time to learn or to be educated about this pandemic and coming out of fear should be the basic aim/idea for now.

Further, the session highlighted various facts, figures and safety measures for the pandemic. It was mentioned that 80% of the Covid cases are asymptomatic so the best medicine is the prevention. The presenters said that usage of masks reduces infection spread by 3% per day. Also the health care workers should use the N95 and 3 PLY surgical masks and the public can use double layer cloth masks which should be properly washed and dried. The presenters also added that there are various varieties of hand sanitizers available in the market to choose the appropriate one, one can check the presence of the alcohol present in the sanitizer.

The session also highlighted some myths based on the Covid i.e. Alcohol kills corona, thermal scanning is not good, spraying bleach will protect, holding breath for 10 seconds, Covid not present in areas which have high temperature etc.

The session also highlighted the Do’s and Don’ts in the travel and tourism context – airports and air travel, buses and transport, hospitality operations, food packing, personal hygiene, cleaning and  dining protocols etc. Mental health, yoga, the importance of “me time and we time”, charity and avoiding Whatsapp news were discussed.

The webinar concluded that as a country India is battling well with covid-19. Having a huge population which the government has to take care of, each citizen needs to be responsible and join the efforts of the government by following the guidelines, safety and precautionary measures, avoid panic and stay connected with people around them.