For most people, staying in one’s home country – and sometimes staying at home, is about the only available options right time, some others are left only with the choice of returning to their home countries as many other destinations have been shut against foreigners because of Covid-19. Whichever category to belong, the last thing you should do is panicking. For travellers stuck in foreign country, there are plenty of reasons to panic – flights are being cancelled, the likelihood of overstaying one’s visa, fear of running out of cash in a foreign land, etc., but experience has shown that panicking does not solve any problems, it only adds more.
If you are in the category of people stuck in another country, here are a few things you should do.
Contact your country’s embassy
You should actually always do this whenever you visit a foreign country. But in this seemingly dire state of things, the embassy will be more valuable to you. Embassies are a country’s miniature terror in another country and the consular sections of every embassy offer a variety of services to nationals of the posting country in the host country. There is usually always someone there at any time, even after office hours, weekends and during holidays to whom someone in trouble could apply if the situation necessitates it. So, don’t hesitate to contact your country’s embassy – you can search online for their social media contact for a start.
Contact your airline to confirm that your travel itinerary is still intact
You should keep abreast of information about your travel itinerary if you already booked your return flight. Travel regulations are changing quickly these days such that what was true a minute ago might have changed. Always check online or call the airline operators you’re flying with to confirm any changes or cancellation that might affect your travel itinerary.
Contact the local immigration authorities
If there has been some cancellation that might affect your immigration status, contact the relevant immigration authority to notify them. You are likely to get proper instruction from the authority on what to do so as to remain legitimate in the country. Your home country’s embassy can also guide you on this.
We can end Covid-19 together by taking the reasonably easy steps prescribed by the WHO in this video:
Comply with all local regulations
As long as you remain in a foreign country, you should keep abreast of local regulations and comply with them. There are increasing regulations about social distancing, mass gathering and restriction of movement in a bid to curtail the spread of Covid-19, keeping up-to-date and complying with them will keep you safe while helping you to be a responsible visitor in another country.
Self-quarantine upon returning home
Local regulations across the world are increasingly requiring returning travellers from some countries to self-quarantine for some days (between 14 and 21 days) in order to affirm that they have not been infected with Covid-19, this is in spite of the checks at the port of entry into the country. At many ports of entry, what immigration authorities are able to do is screening, which is nothing more than temperature checks. This is not a test for Covid-19 and cannot tell absolutely whether or not someone has the Coronavirus. Since the virus takes a few days to manifest and could spread even before the symptoms show, it is only reasonable that any reasonable travellers take measures to self-quarantine for some days as a social responsibility.
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