Developing COVID‑19 Risk Communication and Community Engagement Readiness Strategy Guidance for Travelers Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR)
Containing an emerging disease, such as the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19) depends on stopping the spread of the disease to other areas around the world. People who travel back to their countries of origin to visit friends and relatives (VFR) (including the children of immigrants and international students) are often at a higher risk of getting the disease and then spreading it to others. A better understanding of VFR traveler knowledge, risk perceptions, information needs, barriers to pre-travel care and advice, and access to protective measures will help us better develop strategies to keep travelers healthy. This will prevent the spread of COVID‑19 and its potential negative consequences. Our research will take place in the Fraser Valley and lower mainland of British Columbia as an area with a high number of immigrants. We are seeking information from Chinese and Punjabi VFR travelers, international students at the University of the Fraser Valley, and family physicians. We will use a combination of focus groups, surveys and interviews to get this information. The researchers for this study have a lot of experience in working with immigrant populations on infectious diseases to determine their risk communication needs. This includes research with VFR travelers. The University of the Fraser Valley has partnerships with organizations (such as the Divisions of Family Practice and Community Services) that enable us to easily access research participants. They will also help us access their large and diverse international student body. Including researchers from other countries, like Australia and New Zealand, will help us make sure our research and recommendations can be part of a coordinated international response. Our research also includes senior people in the BC provincial health system to make sure our results can be quickly used in practice.