You might need a medical certificate before traveling - South Africa remains Ebola free as airlines step up precautions.
Announced late last week South Africans who are unable to change their plans to travel into or transit through high-risk Ebola states in West Africa are now able to apply to the National Department of Health to be exempted from the new rule.
After an outbreak of the Ebola virus in August 2014 in some West African countries new restrictions were imposed which included a temporary ban on foreign nationals who have travelled through Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone within a 30-day period prior to entering South Africa.
According to this article in Travel Industry Review; “A task team has been appointed to review each application for exemption from the new requirements.
“In an advisory to its passengers, South African Airways said locals would need to submit their full personal details, as well as an address of residence and details of their next of kin. Travellers must also complete a health questionnaire, to be submitted with their request to travel.
“Requests should be directed to the Director General: Health, for the attention of Dr. Frew Benson, at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Travellers can also contact 012 395 9367 or 012 395 9366.”
With added pressure to keep South Africa’s borders clear of Ebola infections, South Africans may also increasingly be asked to provide health certificates attesting to their good health when entering international long-haul destinations. The outbreak has since been declared an international emergency.
Indonesia took the lead with the special additional health considerations set in place immediately.
Indonesia’s Consulate General in Cape Town said last month the precautionary measure had been applied “to protect the country’s health and prevent the spread of the virus to other areas” stated the article in Travel Industry News. Those traveling to Indonesia will have to present the certificates at the time visa applications are lodged.
It is expected that more countries will soon follow suite.
In addition to the countries currently requiring exemptions, Ebola cases have also been reported in Nigeria and Senegal.
On Friday Independent Online confirmed that, according to the South African Health Department, there are no Ebola cases reported or confirmed in South Africa, the health department said on Friday.
This was while the total number of cases in the current outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone had risen to 3069 probable and confirmed cases, spokesman Popo Maja said in a statement.
“The outbreak continues to accelerate. More than 40 percent of the total number of cases have occurred within the past 21 days,” he said.
“However, most cases are concentrated in only a few localities. The overall death rate is 52 percent. It ranges from 42 percent in Sierra Leone to 66 percent in Guinea.”
Yet South Africa’s national air carrier South African Airways stated that the airline will continue to fly the West African route.