The Ebola crisis has dominated the news in recent weeks and it is clearly a serious issue for the global community. For travellers the risk of contracting Ebola is extremely low, however all experts agree this crisis will be with us at least for the medium term.
Click here for map of Africa showing confirmed outbreak of Ebola cases
A number of countries have implemented border controls related to the Ebola outbreak. For a full and detailed list of these countries and their policies, please click HERE.
Please note the following main points:
Most African nations have a policy, ranging from extra checks to actually refusing entry to nationals from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea.
South Africa on 21 August restricted entry for all non-citizens travelling from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The government subsequently clarified that this was not a blanket ban and could be waived for 'absolutely essential travel'.
Kenya on 10 October announced that it had closed the Suam border crossing (Trans-Nzoia county) with Uganda due to reports of an Ebola-related death in Bukwo district (Uganda). Earlier, the Kenyan authorities on 19 August suspended entry of passengers travelling from and through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, excluding health professionals supporting efforts to contain the outbreak and Kenyan citizens.
There are a number of countries in the Americas and Europe that have also announced policies:
The United States announced that beginning 22 October, any passengers beginning their travels in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will only be able to enter the country through the following airports: JFK International Airport (JFK, New York state), Newark International Airport (EWR, New Jersey), Dulles International Airport (IAD, Washington, DC), Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL, Georgia) or Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD, Illinois).
The United Kingdom and Canada are maintaining strict border checks on all passengers arriving from the affected countries.
Australia has suspended the issuance of visas to travellers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Travellers from these countries who hold permanent visas can enter Australia if they have been quarantined for 21 days prior to arrival, while those who have received non-permanent visas and who have not departed for Australia will have their visas cancelled.
New Zealand is not following the Australian policy but please note that customers travelling to New Zealand from one of the Ebola affected countries will have to bypass Australia.
Countries in Asia and the Middle East are currently monitoring closely and checking all passengers arriving from these countries, although North Korea has put a blanket ban on all foreign nationals entering the country since 24 October.
Travel and airline restrictions are also in place:
Air France suspended flights to Sierra Leone from 28 August.
The Togo-based carrier Asky Airlines has suspended flights to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Arik Air (Nigeria), Gambia Bird and Kenya Airways have suspended services to Liberia and Sierra Leone
British Airways has extended the suspension of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 December.
Emirates Airlines has suspended flights to Guinea (this was a transit service only)
Korean Air suspended flights to and from Kenya from 20 August.
Senegal Airlines has suspended flights to and from Conakry (Guinea) until further notice.
Other airlines have modified their routes but are still operating regular scheduled services. These include:
Royal Air Maroc
For all travel-related enquiries on this matter please contact Customer Care on 0860 40 50 80 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below please find a few common questions being asked by travellers.
What is Ebola?
Ebola belongs to a group of diseases referred to as 'viral hemorrhagic fevers' (VHF), which also includes Dengue Fever and Yellow Fever. Hemorrhagic means these diseases can involve bleeding.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can start within two days after someone is exposed to the virus, with the incubation period ranging from two to 21 days. Symptoms include feeling weak, fever, muscle/joint pain, headache and sore throat. Vomiting, diarrhea, rash and abdominal pain follow in most cases. Internal and external bleeding can also occur.
How does Ebola spread?
The disease can spread from person to person, or to people from animals or bats. The virus is contained in the blood and body fluids of infected people. If someone has contact with an infected person's body fluids, they can get Ebola.
How do I prevent infection?
- Always maintain strict hygiene measures and avoid direct unprotected contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your face.
- When traveling avoid touching blood, body fluids or secretions of other people.
- Avoid healthcare facilities treating Ebola patients.
Which countries are affected?
The main Ebola affected countries include Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria are also being watched closely. All travellers are strongly advised to defer non-essential travel to these countries.
Are travellers being screened?
Many airports are now screening passengers arriving from Ebola affected countries including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. People leaving these countries are also being screened before they fly. Screening is currently underway at airports in the US, Canada and Britain (plus the Eurostar rail terminal in London). It is likely that more countries will commence screening in the coming days and weeks.
What does passenger screening involve?
Travellers may experience delays as a result of airport screening with airport officials permitted to isolate passengers if necessary, evaluate and monitor a person's condition. Screening includes a visual assessment of illness, a temperature check by a non-contact thermometer and detailed questioning on arrival. Fact sheets are also being distributed to those who have traveled to nations affected by the outbreak.
Are airlines still flying to affected areas?
Some international airlines, including British Airways, Emirates Air and Kenya Airways, have suspended flights and charter air movements are extremely limited in affected countries. However other airlines still have regular departures to destinations in West Africa. Travellers to other global destinations are not expected to experience any disruptions.
- You can’t get Ebola through the air or water.
- There are four strains of Ebola virus that affect humans. They are named after the region where they were first detected: Bundibugyo, Tai Forest (previously known as Ivory Coast), Sudan and Zaire.
- The first known Ebola outbreak occurred in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) in 1976.
- The current outbreak is caused by the Zaire strain, which is the most virulent strain.
How to stay informed
As the situation is changing from day-to-day all travellers are advised to keep up to date
with the latest developments. For more information and the latest updates visit:
World Health Organization - www.who.int/
iJET - www.ijet.com/index.php/health-intel-ebola-alert