The association of South African Travel Agents (ASATA) has answered the following consumer travel concerns and questions amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
How does the COVID-19 virus spread?
It is important to know that the new coronavirus, COVID-19, is not airborne. 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.
What measures does South Africa have in place to deal with the spread of COVID-19?
National government have put the following measures in place to combat the coronavirus spread:
- Schools 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 Italy, Spain, Germany, the US, the UK, Iran, South Korea and China is being imposed.
- 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.
Can you cancel a trip that has already been booked, out of fear of the coronavirus?
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.
What if booked a flight has been booked and you now want to reschedule it?
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.
What if you want to end a trip early because the outbreak has spread to the country which you’re currently travelling?
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.
Should you have any additional questions or queries, we encourage you to view the COVID-19 FAQ by clicking here.