There is just no way you would not know about the coronavirus, aka COVID-19 spreading across the world right now. What you might not know is what it’s like traveling both infected and uninfected European countries at these crucial times. My personal experience was quite recent when I was traveling from Prague Czech republic to Hurghada in Egypt.

This is my story.

Výsledok vyhľadávania obrázkov pre dopyt coronavirus

This February I went to an unexpected last-minute vacation to Egypt. All about the trip is in my previous article: Egypt in February 

With everything ready to go, exactly one day before our flight, coronavirus was confirmed in Egypt- our final destination. This fact meant that the COVID-19 reached yet another continent and deepened its pandemic potential.

It was the time my family worriedly messaged me hoping I would reconsider my travel. Spoiler alert: I did not.

What it’s like at the airport with COVID-19?

Once we arrived at Prague’s airport the first thing we noticed was that no one was wearing a face mask. The second thing was the lack of people as it was like 11 am and the only flights were to Hurghada.

All around the Prague airport were these, let’s call them COVID-19 stands. It was basically a board where you could read the general info about the coronavirus, what to do for prevention and what to do if you have a suspicion you might have it. It was written in different languages for all tourists to understand.

Along with the boards were free desinfection pumps and I truly believe they should be a regular part of airports, not only during epidemy.

It looked just like this:

Just a reminder, Czech republic didn’t have, and to this day don’t have a single confirmed coronavirus case. These were all just precautions.

Things were much different once we arrived in Egypt. As they already have a confirmed case and are a popular tourist destination, I was expecting we would have to go through some sort of checkup or screening on arrival. Nothing happened though. No desinfection. No information board. And again- no one was wearing a face mask.

It was like arriving in a care-free country where no one even knew something like coronavirus existed.

The same thing on our way back at Hurghada airport. One week later and nothing changed. Just a bunch of tourists from all around the world in one big building waiting to be distributed to the world.

What changed in Prague was that we noticed like a quarter of all people there were wearing a face mask.

Let me tell you more about face masks and how priceless goods it became.

I’m a pharmacist. I deal with the COVID-19 panic every single day and I have never witnessed a mass hysteria like this one. The truth is I already lived through several massive epidemics but none of them come even close to COVID-19.

The quest to make money out of people’s unnecessary fear is disgusting. 

Take this one. The general face mask works only on the already sick patients so they don’t spread their disease on healthy individuals.

Regular price 15Kc or like 0,60 euro.

The price during coronavirus scare all around the country?

200kc or 8,90euros.

That’s 13 times its original price. And yet people who never traveled outside their safe un-infected country, who are too xenophobic to ever talk to a foreigner, with no immunodeficiency ask for 10 packs.

 

People are stockpiling.

Again: there was no confirmed case of coronavirus. Yet, people are buying rice, pasta, flour and can food like it’s the end of the world. People are buying in bulks. Most of the supermarkets have a bunch of empty shelves.

Desinfection gels are sold out. Face masks are sold out.

It’s all around the media but I still have like 100 people a day asking for some. I even had patients asking for some medications for coronavirus. Like it’s that easy.

I swear to God most of the people are gonna die of a heart attack because of how afraid of coronavirus they are rather than actual coronavirus.

If only we would treat all diseases the same way we treat COVID-19.

Just imagine if media put the same pressure on wearing condoms as it’s an actual form of prevention from AIDS as they do on face masks that do actual shit. (Btw what’s gonna protect you is a respirator that’s also sold out and not face mask). Imagine a world where people are so considered to one another they don’t go around coughing at everyone and everything. I dream of a world where patients don’t demonstrate the cough directly at their pharmacist when asked about the type of cough they have. Just imagine a world where people wash their hands because it’s the right thing to do and not out of fear.

I don’t want to lighten the whole COVID-19 situation. It’s absolutely devastating.

All I’m asking for is to reconsider the panic level to the facts.

Výsledok vyhľadávania obrázkov pre dopyt koronavirus tabulka

In conclusion: I was expecting more at the airports I’ve been to but at least it was something. Hopefully, they improved over time.

Slovak airports plan to measure the temperature of every passenger. It’s a nice gesture but as the incubation period is up to 14 days it might not work as they planned to. But again it’s something.

Most of the flights from major airline companies got canceled. Just in case.

Passengers arriving from Italy or China get extra attention all around Europeans airports. There are separate gates, a thorough screening process or extra questionnaires for people coming from infected areas.

Czech phone companies even send out text messages stating that everyone who traveled to the infected country should watch out for fever, cough or breathing problems for the next 2 weeks. In case of suspicion, they should contact their doctors through the phone.

So remember this during this COVID-19 times:

Stop spreading panic.

Wash your hands.

Don’t cough all around you.

Don’t be a racist dick.

 

7 Comments

  1. February 29, 2020 / 9:55 pm

    Thanks for spreading facts!

  2. February 29, 2020 / 10:14 pm

    Good article I was about to write something about it. Common cold killed more people lol!!the facts

  3. February 29, 2020 / 11:31 pm

    The “normal” influenza kills quite a few people every year. During the worst winter it killed 0.025% of the inhabitants of Denmark. The percentage that year (can’t remember which) was the same in Germany. And it does it every year. I haven’t heard anything about this in the news yet. O.k. reminders to get vaccinated, but vaccination does not seem to help as much as proclaimed.
    In spite of the efforts of our media 😉 , the Danes are not panicking so much yet, because health personnel is calming the waves.

  4. March 1, 2020 / 12:56 am

    I think that the media has a great deal to do with spreading panic and the fact that today people travel further and further afield.
    The other difficulty is that I do not believe that people including the medical profession really know what to do about treating and containing the disease.
    I hope though that you have managed to stay safe and enjoyed your travels.

  5. eleadmrina
    March 2, 2020 / 11:01 am

    Thanks for sharing useful info. The thing is fear and panic can probably lead to more disaster than corona itself.

  6. Queen of Typos
    March 4, 2020 / 11:20 am

    Great post. I’m sick of the panic but also of those who claim this is all a hoax and keep coughing and sneezing all around (like my very ill boss, who coughs on his hand and then grabs your mouse -with that hand- to show you something while still coughing…)

    People, man

  7. March 17, 2020 / 5:02 pm

    I like the very last comment. One person at work was like that last week though he was joking around all week about me being the only person who could catch the virus until I finally spoke up Thursday. I never even coughed or sneezed around him.

    Treat people with respect during this still and don’t act like the person next to you has cooties. Yes, social distance but don’t add even more stress to one specific person when everybody is going through this. They were fine after I said something. I was just tired of telling him I wasn’t sick each time I was in his presence.

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