The coronavirus has created concern and panic from many parts of the world, with some wondering how it spreads and whether is it safe for them to travel abroad or should they be cancelling their plans.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), coronaviruses are a large family of respiratory viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Middle-East respiratory syndrome, and severe acute respiratory syndrome.
The biggest symptoms of the virus are fever and difficulty breathing. Coronavirus, which started in China, has claimed at least 170 lives in the second-largest economy in the world. In a statement, the Automobile Association of South Africa’s travel department has issued a travel advisory, saying that there is no need for panic as there are no reported cases in South Africa. However, there is a need for precaution such as informing the public of the virus and of measures to be taken, particularly for foreign travellers or South Africans intending to travel abroad.
Here are some tips when travelling internationally:
- Consult with your 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 come into contact with animals, or animal products, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth until you have thoroughly sanitised or washed your hands
- Keep a distance from any visibly sick people, especially if you can see that they are coughing, sneezing or have difficulty breathing.
- Follow advice and direction from local authorities
- Monitor your health during your trip, keep notes of any changes, see a doctor immediately if you notice some of the symptoms and wash your hands regularly.
The Department of Home Affairs tweeted that South Africa is ready and well prepared for any emergency and that the Emergency Operation Center is monitoring global developments in relation to the virus.