We spoke to the Automobile Association (AA) Travel Department about the outbreak of the Coronavirus especially in the light of the fact that it would seem that cases have been reported outside of China. The Travel Department advises all international travellers to report any flu-like symptoms to their healthcare provider as soon as possible, and to seek medical attention urgently if these symptoms become acute. This in response to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV – Wuhan Coronavirus – in China which is being exported to other countries. On 20 January Chinese authorities confirmed the 2019-nCoV is spreading person-to-person, with medical workers in Wuhan confirmed to have contracted the disease from cases they had been treating. It’s important to note that no cases 2019-nCoV have been reported in South Africa and there is no need to panic. AA Travel , however, wants to inform the public of the virus, and of measures to be taken particularly for foreign travellers. According to the WHO, coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold, to the Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. “South African travellers to international destinations, and those who have layovers in international airports, may be at risk and should take precautions. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) the main clinical signs of 2019-nCoV include fever, and difficulty in breathing. Any of these signs should be reported to a healthcare professional immediately, particularly after returning from international travel,” says AA Travel.
AA Travel recommendations for travelling internationally:
- Talk to you doctor before travelling with children, if you are pregnant, or have a weak immune system.
- Avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets or areas where animals are being slaughtered.
- If you do come into contact with animals, or animal products, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you have thoroughly sanitised your hands.
- Wash your hands with soap and water, and carry hand sanitiser with you and use it often.
- Keep a distance from any visibly sick people, especially if you can see they are coughing, sneezing or having difficulty in breathing.
- Monitor your health carefully.
- Follow the advice and directions of local authorities.
- Check with your airline for any changes to flight times and services which may be impacted by schedule changes from authorities.
AA Travel says if you are feeling ill while travelling, you should see a doctor as a precaution, and be specific about your travel history. “If you can, you should call ahead so the doctor is aware of your symptoms before you make an appointment. If there is any concern about your health, you may be advised to seek care separately from other patients to avoid spreading while in a waiting room,” concludes AA Travel.