15Oct/14

Spread of Ebola Virus

Sadly, the Ebola virus is spreading rapidly.  Air travel, while being convenient and essential, is also a ticking bomb when it comes to the spread of disease.  Sure Maritime Travel has compiled an alphabetical list of countries that

  1. Have confirmed cases of Ebola
  2. Have implemented travel bans to and from affected areas.

It is important to know also, that if a traveler has been to an affected area and wants to return to their country of origin and a ban is in place, they have to apply to return home.  Repatriation cannot be guaranteed by either an airline, or an insurance company. We will continue to keep you updated on the march of this dreadful disease, as we get more information.  Please keep this mail somewhere so you can refer to the information if necessary.

Travel insurance TIC: TIC has confirmed that travelers to Ebola-affected countries will still be covered by their travel insurance. The company said in a statement: “Should a traveler contract the Ebola disease while travelling in Africa, the travel insurance policy will cover the treatment of the disease up to the relevant benefit limit, under Section 01: Emergency Medical and Related Expenses.” However, TIC also warns that due to the restrictions in place by the different governments and the travel ban from South Africa, the company can’t guarantee that the client will be repatriated back to South Africa or their home country, or even evacuated to another medical facility. Everyone should be aware that should they become sick, it is unlikely that an evacuation will be authorized. Costs incurred because of a cancellation due to a travel ban would not be covered

Botswana Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Botswana has banned travelers from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria and DRC. Botswana’s Health Deputy Permanent Secretary, Shenaaz El-Halabi, said during a recent media briefing that Botswana is screening all arrivals from West Africa and that the country has implemented travel restrictions for visitors from the four affected countries. These measures are part of a new comprehensive Preparedness Plan. Travel incidents: The African Travel and Tourism Association reported that US tourists were refused entry into Botswana because they had arrived from Lagos, Nigeria. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 5 300km

Cameroon Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Cameroon has placed a travel ban on Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Flight cancellations: Cameroon banned all flights from Nigeria last week. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 2 500km

Cape Verde Islands Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: The government of Cape Verde has announced restrictions on travel into the country by non-residents who have been in countries affected by the Ebola virus in the last 30 days. This includes Senegal, Nigeria, the DRC, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. These restrictions will remain in place for the coming three months, after which time the government will reassess the situation. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 1 715km

Democratic Republic Of The Congo Ebola cases: The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed 66 cases of Ebola. However, these cases are unrelated to the epidemic in West Africa, as it seems to be a different strain of the disease. The cases were found in Equateur province near Jera, more than 1 200 kilometres (750 miles) northeast of Kinshasa. The area has been quarantined. Travel insurance: Travelers are covered for Ebola. Should a travel warning or advisory be issued for these regions, they may not be covered. Generally, insurance policies don’t provide cover for travellers to areas where a travel advisory has been issued by either the South African government or the UK FCO. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 3 250km

Equatorial Guinea Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Flights to/from Sao Tome and Principe, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Republic of Congo, Benin, Togo, Nigeria and Gabon have now resumed. However, travel to/from West, Central or East Africa are not being granted permission from Malabo port which is located on Bioko island, just off the coast of Equatorial Guinea. Equatorial Guinea has also suspended visa issuance for those intending to travel to or from Equatorial Guinea to or from any West or Central African countries.

Ethiopia Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Ethiopia has not banned travel to and from Ebola-affected countries. Doctors and nurses are on standby at the airport to treat any possible cases in isolation. Flight cancellations: Ethiopian Airlines is continuing flights to West Africa. The airline has no direct flights to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea. Airline officials have said that the airline is taking precautions. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 5 500km

Gabon Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Gabon has issued a travel ban on all nationals of Ebola affected areas. The country has also issued a travel warning for travel to Ebola-affected areas.

Ghana Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: The government of Ghana issued a travel advisory on Thursday, August 21, urging citizens to only travel to the affected countries if it is “absolutely necessary” to do so. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 1 200km

Guinea Ebola cases: Guinea has 1044 confirmed cases of Ebola in the following towns: Conakry, Guéckédou, Macenta, Siguri, Forécariah and Kérouané. Researchers believe that the first human case of the Ebola virus disease leading to the 2014 outbreak was a 2-year-old boy who died 6 December 2013 in the village of Meliandou. His mother, 3-year-old sister and grandmother then became ill with symptoms consistent with Ebola infection and died. Guinea falls in the category of countries with widespread and intense transmission. Travel restrictions: Health officials in Guinea say all passengers departing from the capital city’s airport must fill out a health form and have their temperature taken. Anyone with a temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius will be tested for the disease.

Ivory Coast Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Ivory Coast has lifted its ban on flights to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. The country had previously banned travel to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Flight cancellations: Ivory Coast announced last week that it has banned all flights from Ebola-affected countries. The government said in a statement that it has forbidden all carriers from transporting passengers from these countries. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 650km

Kenya Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Kenya has banned travel to and from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The Kenyan Minister of Health, James Macharia, said the country would temporarily suspend entry into Kenya of passengers travelling from and through Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, with effect from 19 August. Flight cancellations: Korean Airlines has suspended flights to Nairobi. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 5 400km

Liberia Ebola cases: Liberia has 2 407 confirmed cases of Ebola in Grand Cape Mount and Lofa. Liberia falls in the category of countries with widespread and intense transmission. Travel restrictions: The Liberian government on Sunday, August 24, closed most of its border crossings with the exception of major entry points. Liberia President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the government is testing all outgoing and incoming passengers. Public gatherings such as marches, demonstrations and promotional advertisements will be restricted. Flight cancellations: British Airways has extended its flight suspensions to Liberia. Flights were originally grounded from August 6 until the end of the month. However, the airline has now extended the ban until December 31 due to the deteriorating public health situation.

Mauritius Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Any foreign nationals, who have visited one or more of the countries affected by Ebola during the last two months from the date of their travel to Mauritius, will temporarily not be allowed to enter the country. Ebola affected countries include, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo, as indicated by the high commission. The government of Mauritius has also introduced a temporary travel ban on entry for all nationals from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo due to the recent cases of Ebola in these countries.

Namibia Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Namibia has banned all travelers from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone as part of precautionary measures to prevent the virus from reaching Namibia. Namibian citizens that have travelled to these countries will be entitled to come back into the country, but will be subjected to strict screening at the port of entry to ensure that they are not infected with Ebola. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 4 400km

Nigeria Ebola cases: Nigeria has 21 confirmed cases of Ebola. WHO has confirmed that the spread of Ebola is stable and contained. Three cases of Ebola have been identified in the southern Nigerian city of Port Harcourt. This is the first indication that the disease has spread outside the capital Lagos. Nigeria falls in the category of countries with initial cases or localized transmission. Travel restrictions: Nigeria’s civil aviation authority (NCAA) has started temperature screening passengers arriving from places at risk from Ebola at all major international airports. A compulsory blood test follows if the passenger’s temperature gives cause for concern. Flight cancellations: The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, has suspended all Asky Airline flight operations to Nigeria. Arik Air has suspended flight operations to Liberia and Sierra Leone. Travel insurance: Travelers are covered for Ebola. Should a travel warning or advisory be issued for these regions, they may not be covered. Generally, insurance policies don’t provide cover for travellers to areas where a travel advisory has been issued by either the South African government or the UK FCO. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 2 100km

Rwanda Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Rwanda has announced restrictions on travel from Ebola-hit West African countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Rwandan Ministry of Health strongly recommends that all passengers coming from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone or anyone who has travelled to those countries within the last 22 days be stopped from boarding flights to Rwanda or entering Rwanda by any means of transport. An exception is only provided for passengers with special authorization signed by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Rwanda. Distance from Ebola outbreak: Distance: 4 650km

Senegal Ebola cases: There is one confirmed case in the country. WHO has confirmed that Ebola spread is stable and contained. A total of 74 contacts of the initial case were identified and followed up, none of whom have tested positive so far. Three additional suspected cases in Senegal have also tested negative for Ebola virus The case is reportedly a student from Guinea who crossed into the country, despite the fact that Senegal had closed its border with Guinea. Senegal falls in the category of countries with initial cases or localized transmission. Travel restrictions: Senegal has closed its border with Guinea and banned travel to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as a preventative measure. Travel incidents: According to reports, a regional flight to Dakar, Senegal, that was carrying aid workers from Liberia was prevented from landing on Thursday, August 22. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 1 200km

Reunion Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Reunion has issued a travel advisory, warning its citizens to avoid all but essential travel to all Ebola-affected countries.

Rwanda Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Rwanda has announced restrictions on travel from Ebola-hit West African countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Rwandan Ministry of Health strongly recommends that all passengers coming from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone or anyone who has travelled to those countries within the last 22 days be stopped from boarding flights to Rwanda or entering Rwanda by any means of transport. An exception is only provided for passengers with special authorisation signed by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Rwanda. Distance from Ebola outbreak: Distance: 4 650km

São Tomé and Príncipe Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola

Senegal Ebola cases: There is one confirmed case in the country. WHO has confirmed that Ebola spread is stable and contained. A total of 74 contacts of the initial case were identified and followed up, none of whom have tested positive so far. Three additional suspected cases in Senegal have also tested negative for Ebola virus The case is reportedly a student from Guinea who crossed into the country, despite the fact that Senegal had closed its border with Guinea. Senegal falls in the category of countries with initial cases or localised transmission. Travel restrictions: Senegal has closed its border with Guinea and banned travel to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as a preventative measure. Travel incidents: According to reports, a regional flight to Dakar, Senegal, that was carrying aid workers from Liberia was prevented from landing on Thursday, August 22. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 1 200km

Seychelles Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Seychelles is introducing visa requirements for citizens from countries in the West African region. This includes Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Togo, Congo, DRC, Gambia, Mauritania, and Senegal. Seychelles has implemented travel restrictions to Ebola affected countries. All Seychellois nationals will not be allowed to travel to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, Nigeria or the DRC without the express permission of the Public Health Commissioner until the epidemic has officially been deemed to be over by the World Health Organization (WHO). Travelers from these countries will not be allowed to enter Seychelles until the epidemic has been deemed over. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 7 500km

Sierra Leone Ebola cases: Sierra Leone has 2455 confirmed cases of Ebola in the following towns: Kenema, Port Loko, Western Area Urban, Weastern Area Rural, Kono, Tonkolili and Bombali. Confirmed cases in Sierra Leone have increased since the nation’s lock-down over the weekend of September 20. The Sierra Leone government ordered a three-day lockdown from Friday September 19. The High Commission said the lockdown was aimed at containing nationals and getting them off the streets, allowing health officials to go door-to-door, educating nationals about the disease and locating people within households who show signs of infection. Sierra Leone falls in the category of countries with widespread and intense transmission. Travel restrictions: The Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Authority has announced that all passengers going through the Freetown International Airport shall undergo Ebola Virus checks as an integral component of the normal airport screening process. Passengers will be required to wash their hands with chlorinated water, go through a temperature scan and complete a public health passenger form. Flight cancellations: British Airways has extended its flight suspensions to Sierra Leone. Flights were originally grounded from August 6 until the end of the month. However, the airline has now extended the ban until December 31 due to the deteriorating public health situation. Air France is temporarily suspending flights to Freetown in Sierra Leone from Thursday 28 August 2014.

South Africa Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: South Africa has issued a travel ban for all non-citizens travelling from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in an attempt to prevent the spread of Ebola into South Africa. Non-citizens will only be allowed into South Africa when travelling from these high-risk countries if the entry into the country is considered ‘absolutely essential’. The South African Department of Health has issued a travel advisory against all but essential travel to Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. Travel restrictions: The South African Government has advised travelers to avoid all non-essential travel to and from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone. However, where travel is absolutely essential, permission must be obtained from the relevant authority. In cases where travel between South Africa and the affected high-risk areas is unavoidable, the following procedures must be followed:

  • All intending travelers must request permission to travel from South Africa to the high risk areas or from the high risk areas to South Africa;
  • Permission to travel must be sought from the National Department of Health;
  • All requests from travelers must be addressed to the Director-General: Health, for the attention of Dr Frew Benson and sent to nathoc1@health.gov.za or nathoc2@health.gov.za;
  • For queries, contact Tel: (012) 395-9367 or (012) 395-9366;

The following information must be provided when requesting permission to travel:

  • Full personal details, including residential addresses of South African citizens or in the case of non-South Africans, the address of residence while in South Africa (ie, hotel, etc.);
  • Next of kin details in the case of South African citizens;
  • Full details of the reasons for travel to or from South Africa;
  • The traveler must complete a Traveler Health Questionnaire and submit it with the request to travel;
  • A written response from the National Department of Health will be provided informing the applicant of the outcome of their request to travel;

Distance from Ebola outbreak: 5 500km

The Gambia Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Gambia has closed its air borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. The government has also announced that any international traveler who has been in one of these four countries within 21 days of arrival in The Gambia will not be allowed to enter. Public health officials have been stationed at all the entry points, including at the airport and seaport. The preventive measures taken by Gambia’s public health officials include reading passengers’ temperatures and asking about their travel history. Flight cancellations: Gambian carrier Gambia Bird Airlines has suspended flights from Monrovia in Liberia and Freetown in Sierra Leone until the end of August. Gambia Bird had already suspended flights to Lagos until further notice as a result of restrictions imposed by Nigeria.

Zambia Ebola cases: No reported cases of Ebola Travel restrictions: Zambia has issued contradictory information on whether or not it has closed its borders for travelers from Ebola-affected countries. Health Minister Joseph Kasonde said Zambia has not banned entry into the country for individuals coming from Ebola hit countries, but has issued a travel advisory. He said a travel advisory is not a ban but a travel advice restricting not only nationals of the affected countries but anyone traveling from the affected countries into Zambia. He said anyone suspected of having contracted the Ebola virus would be quarantined. A statement posted on the Ministry of Health website on Saturday said Zambia would restrict entry of travelers from countries affected by the Ebola virus and would ban Zambians from travelling to those countries. “All delegates from any of the countries affected by Ebola virus disease are restricted from entering Zambia until further notice,” the statement reads. Distance from Ebola outbreak: 5 000km



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