Heading to Russia in June / July to watch the Socceroos? Here’s a few tips.
Security will be tight. Sources warn of possible anti-western sentiment due to recent world events. Be alert in public places and keep away from protests. Carry all documents at all times including your Fan ID and passport. Make copies and make sure your passport is in good condition and has an expiry of at least 6 months after your return date. Register your travel plans with DFAT, good advice for any overseas travel.
Severe penalties apply for possession or consumption of illicit substances, including ‘soft’ drugs. Medicines containing ‘narcotics’ (many commonly prescribed painkillers) or ‘psychoactive substances’ require a doctor’s letter (with Russian translation) listing the name, dose and reason.
What are the health risks attending the World Cup in Russia?
Like all travel to destinations where large numbers of people converge, respiratory illnesses (colds and flus) and gastrointestinal upsets are the most likely, although the latter is reduced if staying in high end accommodation. Diseases rarely encountered in Australia, such as rabies, tick-borne encephalitis and tuberculosis occur in Russia but are unlikely to be a problem for the average World Cup traveller staying in good accommodation in cities .
What about vaccines? We recommend all travellers attending large international gatherings have the latest flu shot (which has just become available) and make sure they are up to date with the measles vaccine (2 shots in a lifetime) or have natural immunity. A tetanus booster might not be a bad idea if due, and you may want to consider hepatitis A vaccination depending on future travel plans.
Need medical help ? Contact your travel insurance before calling an ambulance or attending a clinic/hospital otherwise your insurance might not cover you. Payment is usually required up front before treatment.
Finally, don’t drink too much vodka and keep a close eye on your friends if they do !
Dr Raphael Beilin