Ebola: Avoid travel to high-risk areas – Cabinet

2014-08-28 22:48

Passengers wishing to travel between South Africa and the Ebola high-risk areas in West Africa must request permission from the health department, says SA Airways.

SAA spokesperson Tlali Tlali today said this was a new procedure that had been introduced.

“All travellers between South Africa and the Ebola high-risk areas in West Africa must follow the new procedures introduced for the airlines aimed at ensuring compliance with a recent Cabinet decision,” he said.

“The South African government has advised travellers 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.”

He said permission should be requested from the national department of health.

“All requests from travellers must be addressed to the Director-General: Health, for the attention of Dr Frew Benson, and sent to the following address: Nathoc1@health.gov.za or Nathoc2@health.gov.za.”

Travellers must provide 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 traveller must complete a Traveller Health Questionnaire and submit it with the request to travel.

A written response from the national department of health would be provided informing the applicant of the outcome of their request to travel.

Tlali said the travel restriction did not apply to all five destinations (Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Senegal) that SAA flew to in West Africa.

“None of them fall under high-risk category. Our schedule to those destinations remains unaffected,” he said.

The SAA remained committed to ensuring the enforcement of national and international health protocols associated with air transport in the interests of its passengers and the destinations.

“We encourage all customers travelling to West Africa to take the necessary precautions, be vigilant and ensure that their travel documents are in order.”

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