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Holidaymakers told to plan ahead to minimise Covid-19 spread

Holidaymakers told to plan ahead to minimise Covid-19 spread

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 12:18pm 26th June 2020.

Holidaymakers are being urged to take precautions and plan ahead in order to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19 when domestic tourism restarts.

With lockdown restrictions on overnight stays set to be lifted from 4th July, hotels, B&Bs and campsites will be allowed to reopen across Cornwall, provided shared facilities can be kept clean.

However, the doctors’ union is advising tourists to ensure they follow a series of simple but important public health messages designed to protect themselves and others against the spread of the virus when tourism returns.

The British Medical Association's public messaging campaign urges people to:

  • Don’t travel if you’re ill, or have any symptoms of COVID-19 (eg cough, high temperature, loss of smell or taste)
  • Have a plan for self-isolation if you, or anybody in your ‘bubble’, develops symptoms or are told to do so by the official NHS Test and Trace service. You will likely be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
  • If you take medicines prescribed by your doctor, make sure you have enough with you to last for your time away
  • Practise good social distancing and hand washing while you are away from home
  • Wear a face covering whenever you are mixing with others outside your ‘bubble’ and cannot social distance, particularly when you are indoors.
beach coast

The BMA’s public health information comes just days after pictures of a crowded Bournemouth beach raised concerns over social distancing.

Currently there is no clear guidance for tourists and so the doctors’ union hopes the advice can help reduce the spread of infection and ultimately prevent undue pressure being placed on local health systems, particularly those close to tourist hotspots.

The BMA has also produced a set of principles to be considered by tourist operators and other local stakeholders so that appropriate measures can be put in place to enable proper social distancing measures, or people to self-isolate if required to do so.

“We know that many people are looking forward to a holiday in the South West, along with other rural tourist hotspots across the country, but we also know this will present specific challenges as and when tourism returns. These areas are likely to see a large increase in population with visitors and seasonal workers. Our hospitals and GPs have been working flat out, but we have relatively limited and already stretched NHS resources, compared to the likely number of visitors.

“It is therefore vital tourist operators, local authorities, politicians and NHS leaders work together to ensure all risks are considered ahead of 4 July. It is only by minimising the spread of the virus that we will be able to minimise the illness.

“It is really important that plans are in place to ensure that guests will be able to self-isolate if they become unwell or are asked to by official contact tracers. Robust contact tracing is central to containing and reducing the spread of Covid-19, thereby protecting the public, but there must be facilities in place for enabling self-isolation if it's needed. 

"Practical questions, such as will visitors be able to wash their hands regularly and practise appropriate social distancing must be considered and appropriate measures put in place in order to protect the public and also protect the NHS."

Dr Lucy-Jane Davis, chair of the BMA south west regional council

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