Brian Joss – Since the announcement on Sunday by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a National State of Disaster to contain the coronavirus, AA Travel has been inundated with queries regarding travel plans.
While the events many travellers intended attending have been cancelled, others made plans for the upcoming school vacation, for business, or just for holiday. Many are asking if they should continue with their plans.
“AA Travel cannot make the decision for travellers as to whether or not they should continue with their plans, or cancel them. This is a purely personal decision, but one which should be made after doing thorough research and homework. The President discouraged all travel, unless it is essential, and this should be a starting point for many,” says AA Travel.
AA Travel says people who intend travelling need to follow all the rules, and adhere to all precautions, before departing.
“We urge anyone who will still be travelling to ensure they have checked all the recommendations by government and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) regarding personal hygiene and preventative measures. Special guidelines relating to Covid-19 have also been posted, and there is sufficient information in the public domain to ensure no-one is misinformed. Above all else, anyone who is feeling ill should not travel at all,” advises AA Travel.
It is also important that travellers understand the waivers and insurance arrangements attached to flights, vehicle rental agreements, and accommodation.
There are many travel advisories in place for areas across the country, and many resorts, hotels, guest houses, and online accommodation booking outlets have either curtailed their services or completely shut their doors as preventative measures. It is essential that travellers check ahead first to establish the status of the places they intend staying at or visiting.
“If you have already booked accommodation or flights, you must check in with your travel agent or travel service provider regarding deposit returns, cancellation fees or refunds. For instance, refunds on accommodation may not be possible, but they can be deferred to alternative dates in the future, so don’t assume anything, check first,” says AA Travel.
In addition to ensuring high levels of personal hygiene, AA Travel advises travellers to take an alcohol-based sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol with them, and to prepare for delayed returns from some destinations.
“We absolutely discourage panic buying; it creates more problems than solutions. However, in the case of medicines, we do urge those with chronic conditions – and who will be travelling – to ensure they have sufficient supply for their stay, and some extra in case of delayed returns. Also, check with your local travel clinic about clinics in the area you are visiting in case of an emergency,” concludes AA Travel.
The NICD’s national toll free hotline number is 080 002 9999.