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Customers asking about Ebola?
Here's what you need to know to answer their likeliest questions
Posted on 24. October, 2014
With so much rumour and speculation swirling around the subject of Ebola, it's wise to be armed with the latest accurate information.

Travel to the main affected countries, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia is extremely unwise of course and the UK Foreign Offices advises strongly against such journeys until the epidemic is over. 


But trips to popular destinations like South Africa and holiday islands including Cape Verde, the Seychelles and Mauritius can also be affected. All these countries have closed their borders to anyone arriving from the Ebola zone - and also to passengers whose passport shows that they passed through those countries in recent weeks. In fact similar restrictions are in place for most countries worldwide, including the popular Caribbean resorts such as Antigua and Jamaica.  The period stated varies, it is 30 days in the case of Cape Verde for example. 


No-one should travel if these restrictions apply to them. Their travel insurance policy won't be valid, and chances are they'll need to be repatriated at their own expense.


And now here's a quick guide to what travellers need to know about Ebola.


First and foremost, as the official World Health Organisation fact sheet confirms it is a very difficult disease to catch. The virus cannot spread by air or water, and can only be transmitted by physical contact with blood, sweat and other bodily secretions of an infected person or animal. WHO also states that there is a very low risk of the disease being contracted during air travel.


Is Ebola spreading? The good news is that Nigeria and Senegal have now been declared Ebola-free by WHO. However a worrying sign is that Kenya (which has never had a case of Ebola, like most African countries) closed a border crossing with Uganda on 10 October due to reports of an Ebola-related death there. There is also a confirmed but unrelated outbreak of a different version of the virus in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Tourism to parts of Africa unaffected by Ebola is certainly being adversely affected by fear of the epidemic. According to the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, reported in the Daily Telegraph on 20 October, there is "alarm in the market" because people misunderstand how the virus spreads and where the affected countries are. In fact Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are closer to London than to South Africa. 


It's essential for everyone to remember that if they cancel a holiday because of misplaced fears about Ebola, their travel insurance company won't consider the claim valid. 






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