Update on Coronavirus and travel to South Africa 

Published: February 4th, 2020
SATSA newsflash

As of 4 February 2020, there are no reported or suspected cases of Coronavirus in South Africa.  

There is no impact on visitors to South Africa and no travel or trade advisories or restrictions have been put in place for travelling to South Africa, except those imposed on Chinese citizens by the Chinese government.

South African health authorities and hospitals are on high alert and temperature screening remains in place at most international airports in South Africa. This is a routine precaution that was instituted at airports in 2010.

Any passenger found to be ill or exhibiting fever symptoms on arrival will be reviewed at airport clinics. The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) confirms that South African hospitals are prepared to deal with any Corona-related problems and laboratories have facilities in place to test for the respiratory disease.

The national Department of Health and the NICD have developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions for doctors and nurses in both the public and private sectors to better detect, identify and respond to a possible 2019-nCoV case.

The guidelines include guidance on what samples to collect to confirm the diagnosis as well as how to best manage the case clinically and to prevent the spread to others while the diagnosis is being made.

In the majority of cases, the impact to patients has been fairly mild although several deaths have occurred mainly in older patients or those already experiencing underlying medical issues. No vaccine has been developed as yet.

Several airlines and travel suppliers have issued travel waivers and additional screening in response to curbing the spread of coronavirus. Please check with your airline and travel suppliers regarding rebooking and cancellation policies.

The outbreak is evolving rapidly and it is unclear how it will spread.

SATSA supports our members’ decision to waive cancellation fees for Chinese citizens due to force majeure (Chinese government ban on travelling) and thereby protecting the reputation of brand South Africa. We are however aware that tourists of other nationalities are also requesting cancellation fees to be waived. We advise that these tourists should rather postpone their trips with fewer penalties or be liable for the standard cancellation fees.   

SATSA will continue to update its members with any additional information as it is released. Should you have specific questions you require assistance with, please do not hesitate to email these to communications@satsa.co.za.

Additional resources:

NICD – Is South Africa prepared for Coronavirus
NICD – What is the Coronavirus
NICD – Top tips for preventing the Coronavirus
WHO – Coronavirus Resources