Coronavirus – a reflection | Sense Africa

Jenny's Blog

Coronavirus – a reflection9th March '20

Gemsbok Namibia

I’m sure you’re aware, and have heard on the news, there is a virus spreading from China called COVID-19 or the Coronavirus. It’s got our attention, and we’re sure it has got yours too. That said we don’t want to panic unnecessarily, in fact panic and misinformation can actually be more damaging than the virus itself. Think of the loo roll flying off the shelves and the implications for someone who genuinely needs some?

At the time of writing, in the UK we have 273 cases. Out of a population of 67,886,011  (source: worldometer) it is a tiny drop in the ocean, or 0.0004% to be precise. With 3 deaths, this is 0.000004% of the population. (Please note: figures change by the nanosecond with births and deaths recorded. The latter mostly for other reasons than the coronavirus).

That said, you might be planning a holiday or have paid for a holiday whether that is with us, booked independently or with another operator. We completely understand if you’re worried. Sense Africa founder, Jenny Bowen, went through this process to decide whether to travel this week. On reflection, reading advice and considering the risks, she booked her flights and is going. She will blog about her experience at the airport and flying to share with you. Maybe it will be different, perhaps not – we’ll see and let you know.

You are probably wondering if you should cancel or delay your travel plans, and what you can do to protect yourself, so let’s consider these.

What can I do to protect myself?

Hygiene! As the old saying goes, coughs and sneezes spread diseases – and this doesn’t just apply to the coronavirus. Wash your hands, sneeze into tissues and dispose in a bin. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your arm. Carry hand sanitiser or wash your hands with soap and water regularly. Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth – it’s hard to do and it’s amazing how often we touch our face. However, this is how most viruses are transferred, so not doing this is generally good practice. This is a good time to develop good habits.

Should I cancel or delay my travel plans?

At the time of writing, probably not. Southern Africa is not a high risk area so no travel restrictions are in place. We’re keeping up to speed in case this changes and are checking the advice disseminated from the World Health Organisation (click here to view) and from the British Foreign Commonwealth Office’s foreign travel advice (click here to view).

However, extra caution should be exercised if you’ve been to a high risk affected area or are showing any symptoms. Symptoms include a fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

  • The NHS has guidance on what to do if you have symptoms: click here to view.

It also depends on your age and health. There are higher risks if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are over 60. If you have pre-exiting medical conditions, please speak to your doctor.  They can give advice that is specific to your medical history.

What is my insurance position – am I covered if my plans change or I want to cancel?

Please check with your insurer as all policies are different. Typically cancellation due to ‘fear of an epidemic, pandemic, infection or allergic reaction’ is not covered. We advise our customers to use Cambell Irvine who’ve provided a comprehensive analysis of various scenarios, click here to read accurate and comprehensive insurance information.

Please speak with us if you have any specific concerns or want to discuss a booking. Click here to view our booking terms of business but speak to us directly as we would need to consider on a case-by-case basis. We value our customers and your health and want you to have a wonderful and worry-free holiday.

The risks are very small and there are, at the time of writing, no travel restrictions for the countries we visit. We’ll keep an eye on things as safety is paramount, but for now, it is business as usual.

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