THE DEADLY Coronavirus -respiratory virus -continues to wreak havoc in China were it originates.
Unfortunately, lives have been lost and the economy could be disastrous if not contained as a matter of urgency, as it threatens to spread to other countries, whom many have imposed immigration restrictions due to this outbreak.
Talk of economy the Emirates Airlines has issued a warning and at some stages cancelled or re-routed some of its flights to and from Guangzhou.
In a terse statement the company said as directed by the UAE authorities, Emirates will suspend flights to Guangzhou (CAN) and Shanghai (PVG) from Wednesday 5 February 2020, until further notice.
“Customers with bookings on affected flights will not be accepted for boarding at point of origin. Affected customers can refer to the rebooking and refund details,” read the media statement.
This continues to affect tourism and airline industries globally.
“Emirates will continue operations to/from Beijing (PEK) as scheduled. However, travellers departing Beijing will be subject to additional medical tests. Details of these arrangements will be provided on this website once finalized,” continued the statement.
Customers travelling to and from mainland China and customers travelling into and on their return journey from Hong Kong with tickets issued on or before 28 January can opt to:
- Rebook for travel up to 14 days from your original travel date (one free change)
- Refund for any unused tickets for travel dates between 23 January to 29 February 2020
- Reroute to select destinations free of charge for outbound travel up 29 February (subject to availability). Selected destinations are Dubai, Denpasar, Phuket, Manila, Cebu, Clark, Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, Mauritius, Seychelles, Nairobi, Dar Es Salaam, Casablanca, Tunis, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
To request a refund, customers who booked directly with Emirates can visit the Request Fund webpage and add “Refund request due to Coronavirus” in the comments section.
Customers who booked with a travel agent must contact them for a refund.
In South Africa, health authorities in Limpopo were monitoring the first person suspected of possibly having contracted coronavirus.
According to Limpopo health department spokesperson Neil Shikwambana, the patient was taken into isolation as a precautionary measure after he developed a high fever and other symptoms consistent with a respiratory disease.
“The patient works at the Grobler’s Bridge border crossing between South Africa and Botswana and was considered as a high-risk case because it is a point of entry,” Shikwambana told News24.
“He was isolated and tested and eventually cleared of having the coronavirus.”
In response, the South African Tourism- Altaaf Kazi- GM Global PR, Communications and Stakeholder Relations said: “The economic impact of the Coronavirus will be felt across most sectors, and tourism is no different. It is expected that this outbreak will affect tourism numbers, not just coming out of China, but also from other parts of the world.
The safety of tourists and our citizens is also our priority. The Department of Health have assured us that measures are in place to detect, manage and contain any cases of Novel Coronavirus should it come to our shores. So far, there are no suspected cases reported in South Africa.
South Africa has developed and distributed clinical guidelines and case definitions to doctors and nurses in both the public and the private sectors. We will continue to closely monitor the situation.
China remains one of our biggest source markets, however once the Coronavirus outbreak is contained and Chinese tourists are ready to travel again, we will continue with our marketing efforts in the region.”