As the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation evolves rapidly, it is essential that visitors and tourists to Stellenbosch remain calm, rely on official informed sources for their information and do not add to the panic by sharing ill-informed and inaccurate information.
[A] Social distancing measures are steps you can take to reduce social interaction between people. This will help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
They are to:
1. Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). These symptoms include high temperature and/or new and continuous cough.
2. Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible.
3. Work from home, where possible.
4. Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces. Infections spread easily in closed spaces where people gather together.
5. Avoid gatherings with friends and family. Keep in touch using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.
6. Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
7. When you are in public keep a safe distance of two meters from anyone.
We strongly advise you to follow the above measures as much as you can and to significantly limit your face-to-face interaction with friends and family if possible.
Video clip on social distancing.
Click here for social distancing infographic
[A] According to the World Health Organisations (WHO), the coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as middle east respiratory syndrome and severe acute respiratory syndrome.
The Virus is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.
[A] While many countries around the world have imposed travel bans and restrictions, continued travel to medium and low risk countries is still a concern for imported infection.
Currently (18 March 2020) there are 116 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in South Africa, across four provinces (GP, KZN, MP and WC). Six are from local transmissions but we can expect this number escalating rapidly of the next few weeks. This is the reality – South Africa is at the beginning of this infection trajectory that has been seen in other countries.
[A] National government have put the following measures in place to combat the coronavirus spread:
• Schools and tertiary institutions will be closed from Wednesday 18 March and will remain closed until after the Easter Weekend.
• A travel-ban on foreign nationals from high risk countries such as Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK, Iran, South Korea and China is in effect from 18 March 2018.
• 35 of South Africa’s land ports will be shut from Monday 16 March. 2 of the 8 sea ports will be closed for passengers and crew changes.
• All gatherings of more than 100 people have been prohibited.
[A] Overwhelmingly, infection is without complications. Rigorous hygiene interventions are very effective in preventing transmission.
The worst cases and deaths have occurred in groups above the age of 60, particularly above 70, and those with pre-existing conditions, e.g. hypertension, cancer, asthma, and diabetes.
The death rate is likely between 0.05 and 1%, but this is likely even inflated due to the fact that we don’t know the true number of people who are or have been mildly infected and not diagnosed.
What is certain is that health care systems in many affected countries are overwhelmed at the moment.
[A]It is important to know that the new coronavirus, COVID-19 is transmitted through small droplets from the nose or mouth that are spread when a person with the virus coughs, sneezes, or exhales. It is possible to inhale these droplets if you are in close proximity with someone who is sick, or if you touch surfaces where these droplets have landed and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
[A] Every person arriving at an international airport will be subject to temperature screening. Arrivals may be required to complete a questionnaire and/or be subject to a temperature screening on-board before disembarkation. Temperature screening is very limited, however, and cannot be expected to pick up every case.
The incubation period for the infection is 5-6 days, up to 14, and infected individuals may not have an elevated temperature during this time – or even when they are sick.
If you exhibit symptoms or are suspected of infection, you may be tested before you travel. In this case, you will not be allowed to travel for up to 24 hours as you wait for the result of the test to come back and you will only be allowed to continue travel if the test is negative. Travellers need to consider that their travel will be disrupted and that they will have to wait somewhere for 24 hours.
If your test comes back positive, you will be required to self-isolate and will not be allowed to travel.
[A] We have received guidance from WESGRO that all guests who check in at our accommodation establishments, who are foreign nationals and have entered the country in the past two weeks should phone the provincial coronavirus hotline (021 928 4102) if they have not done so since their arrival. They will be taken through a set of questions, by a trained operator, who will advise them on suitable and responsible steps to be taken.
Furthermore, should you, staff and/or guests develop flu-like symptoms, do not panic. Your or the affected person my immediately be isolated at home or in guest room. This means you/affected person must limit contact with other people.
Please call the National Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999, the Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102 or WhatsApp “Hi” to 060 012 3456. You can also call your health practitioner for further advice on what to do next.
If unwell, stay home or in isolation, except to get medical care as directed by the hotline or advice of health practitioner – do not go to work or any public areas.
[A] Travel bans are effective from 18 March to and from high-risk source markets, including France, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Spain, Germany, USA, UK and China. Travellers from medium-risk source markets – Portugal, Singapore and Hong Kong – must present themselves for high-intensity testing.
Nationals from high-risk source markets will be required to apply for visas before visiting and their travel behaviour analysed before that is granted. Visas will be granted based on travel history, not on nationality. Travellers from high-risk destinations will be denied entry.
Expiring short- and long-term visas can be renewed up until July 2020.
All ports of entry are equipped with infrared thermometers and health personnel for screening passengers. Inbound international arrivals may be subject to an in-flight inspection and/or questionnaire.
Some domestic flights may also experience these measures.
[A] You can always cancel your trip, but whether or not you will receive a full or partial refund depends on if you purchased a refundable ticket or package, and your specific insurance policy.
[A] Leniency in rescheduling your flight will depend on the airline, route and travel dates. Many airlines –have been relaxing change and cancellation terms. However, it is important to note that each airline’s policy is different.
[A] If the coronavirus outbreak has spread to a destination during the course of your trip, it is advised that you contact both your national embassy, insurance and travel providers to discuss your best course of action.
[A] Healthcare facilities and workers in South Africa are prepared to deal with the virus that causes COVID-19. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has released and widely distributed guidelines to healthcare workers in both the private and public sectors.
These guidelines outline all procedures and protocols, including how to rapidly identify a possible case, isolate a patient, take the correct samples, and transport the samples to the NICD for confirmation of the diagnosis. There is a set of technical resources available on the NICD’s website that healthcare facilities and workers can easily access.
South Africa has designated facilities for the management of COVID-19 that are best equipped for aseptic and isolation chain or care.
Across South Africa, there are currently ten designated facilities prepared to treat coronavirus patients:
• Western Cape: Tygerberg Hospital
• Gauteng: Charlotte Maxeke Hospital and Steve Biko Hospital
• Limpopo: Polokwane Hospital
• Mpumalanga: Rob Ferreira Hospital
• KwaZulu-Natal: Grey’s Hospital
• North West: Klerksdorp Hospital
• Free State: Pelonomi Hospital
• Northern Cape: Kimberley Hospital
• Eastern Cape: Livingston Hospital
All personnel at these facilities are correctly trained and capable of implementing infection control procedures. In addition to these designated facilities, several other health centres are prepared for COVID19 screening.
[A] Feedback is that there are two checks, one on the plane before disembarking and another in the airport. Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize confirmed that all South African ports of entry are screening people arriving from outside South Africa, as well as on some domestic flights.
Measures may differ from port to port or depend on the country from which you’re arriving but include a combination of fever screening using infrared thermometers, in-flight inspections, and questionnaires. Travellers are advised to cooperate fully with port and health authorities.
South Africa has 72 ports of entry in the country which are land, sea and airports. Of the 53 land ports, 35 will be shut down with effect from Monday 16 March in order to prevent further influx of people possibly infected with COVID-19. Click here for a list of all the borders which have been closed.
[A] More than ever, it is important to remain calm and not give credence to fake news, unverified information or social media stories that may lead to unnecessary panic. If in doubt, check out the resources below.
[A] Tourism establishments should ensure that:
• Staff are aware of the WHO and NICD recommended advice on preventing infection (as below):
• Clean water and soap or sanitisers are provided
• Frequently touched surfaces in the workplace are cleaned regularly and kept hygienic
• Employees who are sick stay at home
Tourism establishments and their staff should follow and promote amongst guests the precautionary measures recommended by WHO and NCID, including:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick – a 2-meter distance is recommended
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or a tissue, then throw the tissue in a closed bin
• Avoid contact with farm or wild animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)
Special equipment is not required unless there is a suspected or confirmed case identified at the establishment.
CONTACT YOUR EMBASSY
Contact your embassy immediately to gain clarity on your visa status. Here is a list of telephone numbers for embassies in South Africa.
Angola 021-425 8700
Austria 021-912 1351
Belgium 021-419 4690/1
Bulgaria 021-912 3030
Brazil 021-421 4040
Canada 021-945 4960
China 021-674 0988
Chile 021-554 3241
Cyprus 021-466 5225
Estonia 082-550 6363
Finland 021-671 7058
France 021-423 1575
Georgia 021-421 6355
Germany 021-405 3031
Ghana 021-671 6199
Greece 021-424 8160/1
Hungary 021-886 8855
India 021-419 8110
Indonesia 021-761 1421
Italy 021-487 3900
Lithuania 021-439 9030
Japan 021-425 1695
Madagascar 021-674 7238
Malta 021-911 0631
Maldives 021-650 2076
Mauritius 021-438 8151
Mozambique 021-418 2131/2
Namibia 021-419 2810
Netherlands 021-421 5660
Paraguay 082-446 6631
Philippines 021-433 2270
Portugal 021-418 0080/81
Romania 021-761 1781
Russia 021-418 3656
Seychelles 021-713 1583
Slovakia 021-715 8833
Slovenia 021-976 2249
Spain 021-422 2415
Sri Lanka 021-839 2921
Sudan 021-418 1347
Switzerland 021-400 7500
Turkey 021-788 7069
United Kingdom 021-405 2400
USA 021-702 7446
Vanuatu 021-434 6517
Zimbabwe 021-461 1994/5
CONTACT YOUR TRAVEL AGENT OR AIRLINE
If you need to leave South Africa immediately but your flight is for a later date, contact your travel agent or airline to find out how to change your flights.
Emirates: 0861 040503
Turkish Airlines: 0860 666 828
Qatar Airways: +27 11 267 7700
SAA: 0861 359 722
Ethiopian Airlines: +27 21 879 1520
British Airways: +27 21 936 9000