There are currently no travel and trade restrictions in place in South Africa linked to the novel coronavirus (known as 2019-nCoV) as, to date, there have been no reported cases in the country, according to a statement from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
An emergency operations centre is, however, in high alert mode and can be activated should the need arise.
Routine temperature screening is in place at all South African international ports of entry, with the
NICD noting that any passenger found to be ill or exhibiting fever symptoms on arrival will be reviewed at airport clinics.
In the interim, Spokesperson for OR Tambo International Airport, Betty Maloka, has encouraged passengers to stay in touch with their airline regarding travel health and safety advice.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and the South African Department of Health are in constant contact with global health authorities. In a statement sent to Tourism Update, SACAA has guaranteed that all role players, including airports and airlines, will comply with applicable regulations whenever there is a confirmed outbreak.
The Department of Health says it has measures in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of novel coronavirus should it come to South African shores.
“So far, there are no cases reported. Port Health professionals routinely conduct temperature screening for all international travellers. However, due to the current risk of cases of 2019-nCoV from Wuhan, Port Health authorities have enhanced surveillance of all travellers from Asia. OR Tambo and Cape Town International Airports are the only ports of entry with direct flights from Asia,” said Popo Maja, Spokesperson for the Department of Health.
An NICD Spokesperson said in a statement that, in the majority of cases, the impact to patients had been “fairly mild” although several deaths had occurred, mainly in older patients or those already experiencing underlying medical issues.
No vaccine has been developed as yet.