COVID 19: Keep Calm | Carry on (#5)

This is the 5th  update in our Covid 19 announcements to XirCammini Members.

Our underlying advice remains, “Keep calm | act sensibly | exercise discipline | (where permissible) carry on.”

Introduction: Thank You

We want to start as always with a heartfelt note of thanks and caution:

Thanks: We want to thank all the healthcare professionals, paramedics, disciplined forces, volunteers and all those engaged in the effort to halt and or heal. Thank you.

Caution: A word of caution to everyone else out there in touch with the healthcare profession. Please be supportive of the efforts and instructions in place. These are there to protect us. Please cooperate fully with the medical fraternity. They are our ultimate line of defense.

Overseas Trekking

General Instructions & Announcements from Airlines

Today we thought of providing in one document links to information from the most commonly used airlines to and from Malta typically used by hikers travelling from and to Malta.

There are Maltese that are endeavouring to return to Malta and we thank AirMalta for their commitment towards repatriation.

Most airlines have been very pro-active in either providing refunds or re-scheduling. All re-assure passengers of the ventilation / filtration systems available in aeroplanes which is similar to hospitals and stops a a wide range of virus and bacteria.

WizzAir also provides excellent general information on Covid-19, transmission risks, etc in addition to the customary flight information due to the disruptions.

These are the updates from the airlines mostly used by the Maltese (airlines in alphabethical order) travelling for hiking trips abroad:

AirMalta

AirMalta: As mentioned above, Airmalta continued to organise repatriation flights over the weekend and updated its news / links relating to Covid 19 on its website: https://www.airmalta.com/covid-19-info

British Airways

British Airways: https://www.britishairways.com/en-li/information/incident/coronavirus/latest-information?dr=&dt=British%20Airways%20%7C%20Book%20Flights,%20Holidays,%20City%20Breaks%20%26%20Check%20In%20Online&scheme=&audience=travel&CUSTSEG=&GGLMember=&ban=%7C%7CP1M%7C%7C%7C%7C%7C%7C%7CHOME%7C%7C%7C%7CL4%7C%7C%7C%7Canonymous-inspiration%7C%7C%7C&KMtag=c&KMver=1.0&clickpage=HOME

EasyJet

EasyJet is also offering re-scheduling of flights to those effected: https://www.easyjet.com/en/help/preparing-to-fly/latest-travel-information

Emirates

Emirates Airlines emphasizes more on cleaning of their planes and offering flexibility to their loyalty programme customers: https://www.emirates.com/media-centre/emirates-offers-travellers-added-peace-of-mind/

Lufthansa

Lufthansa details procedure  for cancellation and/or rebooking of tickets as well as providing information of limited flights remaining in place for example to the USA even beyond 14th March: https://www.lufthansa.com/xx/en/flight-information

Ryanair

Updates from Ryanair: https://www.ryanair.com/ie/en/useful-info/disruptions-and-refunds/coronavirus-covid-19/flight-passenger-restrictions

The restriction on Italy currently in place is until 8th April: https://corporate.ryanair.com/news/ryanair-suspends-all-italian-flights-to-wed-8-apr-as-government-extends-restrictions-to-all-italy/

Turkish Airlines

Turkish Airlines updates of all flights that have been cancelled. Turkish Airlines is giving refunds for unused tickets. https://www.turkishairlines.com/en-int/announcements/coronavirus-outbreak/

Vueling

Vueling are offering rescheduling of flights effected: http://vuelingnews.com/?lang=en

WizzAir

WizzAir provided very good information on Covid-19, sysmptoms, risk of transmission etc.  and also answered questions specifically relating to their flights. Ay information website in this respect:

https://wizzair.com/en-gb/coronavirus-information and https://wizzair.com/en-gb/latest-travel-information

Local Trekking

XirCammini Approach

We firmly believe that hiking in fresh air has significant physical, psychological and social benefits. Under the current circumstances that advocate a measure of ‘social distancing’ the latter benefit may need be placed on the back-burner. However While not holding larger group walks as XirCammini , we will continue to recommend hiking solo or in small groups while respecting the directives currently in place.

Also, within this ambit, the weekly Wed Walks will continue to be held. These generally attract not more than 10 people walking at a pace of between 5.5km – 6km an hour spacing out, on average, over a 15-minute (i.e. 1.5km or 1,500m) time lag. Therefore, on balance – even under the current climate – these do not pose any increased risk.

We will also continue to harp on the following common-sense advice as recommended by ECDC, WHO and government directives i.e. Please:

  1. Do not join the trek if you are sick, running a temperature, have a cough, or experiencing trouble to breathe;
  2. Do not join the trek if you or persons close to you have recently returned from Italy, Spain, France, Germany or Switzerland. You should be in quarantine;
  3. Avoid any form of physical contact with others (i.e. shaking hands, hugging, kissing etc.) and try to maintain the 1-metre physical distance;
  4. Avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Carry and use alcohol-based hand sanitisers, tissues, and other hygiene products constantly on a trek;
  5. Use soap and water if hands are visibly dirty;
  6. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  7. Check list of persons coming and make personal arrangements for car-pooling. Keep car windows open as much as possible.

Conclusion: be respectful

We conclude by again thanking all the healthcare professionals, paramedics, disciplined forces, volunteers and all those engaged in the effort to halt and or heal. Thank you.

It’s good to also see that some even from the front-line have – to varying degrees – a little bit of time to keep up-to-date with news and social media, to also post photos / profile pics in scrubs akin to haz-mat gear, to take time out and in one occasion also celebrating a birthday of a colleague working on the front-line around the clock. Maintaining a positive morale is half the victory.

Also some circumstances in life tend to bring out the best in some people and the worst in others. it is worth remembering that in any war:

  1. We are not all on the front-line. If we were it means that the war is already almost lost. Wars with a successful strategy and outcome have a front-line, strong ‘behind the lines’ organisation, logistics, media / PR, opportunities to ‘take time out’, entertainment and humour (even if stoic at times) and a strong sense of, “keep calm and carry on” aimed at instilling a strong sense of balance.
  2. If / when you are visible your words and actions influence others. Be judicious in both.
  3. Prejudice brings out the worst in people. In this case, we’re all on the same side. let us be respectful towards each other.
  4. Unfortunately social media has replaced the soap-box and created multiple mutations of preachers who with evangelical zeal spout or advocate hell’s fire and brimstone at /for anyone who dares disagree with their point of view even on mundane matters. Bad as Covid-19 may be there are worse viruses infecting some of us and making themselves manifest particularly in such times. I am referring to such viruses as prejudice, gossip, bigotry, conceited self-righteousness and so on. If one is unable to speak (their version of the truth) unto others with respect then it would probably be more beneficial if we maintain our silence. After all it is our actions (not our words) that speak most volumes.

Life is a journey | keep walking | keep smiling | keep safe | keep calm | act sensibly | exercise self-discipline and (where permissible) carry on.