Dr Amar Singh HSS shares safety, travel tips for Chinese New Year

A health expert is worried about a possible surge of Covid-19 cases due to the coming Chinese New Year celebrations.

Datuk Dr Amar Singh HSS feels there are those who have become complacent after living with the pandemic for two years.

To that end, the senior consultant paediatrician and researcher shared some tips that could be beneficial for those travelling back to their hometowns for the celebrations next week.

“The first thing I would do before travelling is to make sure I’ve got my booster shot,” said Dr Amar.

“I would also check the vaccination status of my parents and grandparents, and do a risk assessment on whether or not it is safe to visit them.

“An important step is to do a self-test to make sure you are negative before you travel. You should do the test after a couple of days, and before you return home. Even if you are negative, you should not travel if you do not feel well.”

He said the reason for multiple tests is because the Omicron variant spreads quickly.

“You may be negative today, but positive, the next. It is better to do self-tests regularly,” said Dr Amar.

He understands that it might not be possible to wear face masks the entire time at home, but said if there are any visitors outside the immediate family, then masking up is necessary.

He urged people to hold celebrations outdoors. If that is not possible, they should ensure that the houses are well-ventilated.

“My sister-in-law and her husband are coming to visit us. We have not met for two years. I plan to host them on our patio,” said the avid bird-watcher.

“Even then, we will be wearing masks. I also have a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) purifier and two fans – one pointing towards them to blow the air away, and the other facing us doing the same.

“I understand, not everyone can take the same precautions, but I hope people are cautious when visitors come over.”

He said travellers should pack snacks and drinks, preferably water, in case they get stuck in traffic.

He added travellers should make sure they fill up their petrol tanks and have enough credit to pay for tolls before embarking on their journey.

“If you have to stop for any reason, appoint a designated ‘runner’ to run errands. Before they get back into the car, they should sanitise themselves.”

If possible, travellers should avoid public restrooms.

“If you have to go, please make sure you do not take off your masks.

“The most important thing is to try and get a good mask like KF94, as it provides a better fit, and has good filtration.

“Also, make sure you buy genuine masks. Avoid imitations that do not protect you.”