[Q] ARE WE TESTING TRAVELLERS FOR COVID-19?
[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.
[Q] I HAVE ARRIVED IN SOUTH AFRICA AFTER MID-FEBRUARY AND I AM ASYMPTOMATIAL , WHAT IS EXPECTED OF ME?
[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.
[Q] ARE THERE ANY TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS IN SOUTH AFRICA AT THE MOMENT?
[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.
[Q] CAN YOU CANCEL A TRIP THAT HAS ALREADY BEEN BOOKED, OUT OF FEAR OF THE COVID-19?
[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.
[Q] WHAT IF BOOKED A FLIGHT HAS BEEN BOOKED AND YOU NOW WANT TO RESCHEDULE IT?
[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.
[Q] WHAT IF YOU WANT TO END A TRIP EARLY BECAUSE THE OUTBREAK HAS SPREAD TO THE COUNTRY WHICH YOU’RE CURRENTLY TRAVELLING?
[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.
[Q] DOES SOUTH AFRICA HAVE FACILITIES TO DEAL WITH THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES COVID-19?
[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.
[Q] WHAT ARE THE BORDER MEASURES IN PLACE?
[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.
[Q] WHERE CAN I FIND THE MOST UP-TO-DATE, ACCURATE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SPREAD OF THE VIRUS THAT CAUSES COVID-19?
[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.
www.sacoronavirus.co.za | Emergency Hotline 0800 029 999 | WhatsApp Support Line: 0600-123456
[Q] WHAT GUIDELINES SHOULD TOURISM ESTABLISHMENTS BE FOLLOWING IN TERMS OF PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES AND EQUIPMENT?
[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