CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

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SOUTH AFRICAN CORONA VIRUS HOTLINE NUMBER:   +27 80 002 9999

Please use this hotline if you display any signs of the virus, don’t go to your Doctor and infect him and everybody in the waiting room. Share this number with everyone you know as well as your household staff‼

 

 

There is a lot of uncertainty at the moment with regards to the COVID-19 outbreak – no more so than when it comes to travel plans.

Corporate and leisure travel has been disrupted by many other crises in the past and always resumed normal operations once the threat was managed, notwithstanding ash clouds, SARS, terrorist attacks, etc.

By delaying travel, the financial impact to the traveller is much lower than if the decision taken is simply to cancel travel plans based on a disinclination to travel.

In most cases, the World Health Organization has confirmed there is a low risk associated with travel, while suppliers and destinations have also not announced cancellation waivers or travel bans, which would mean that the traveller’s disinclination to travel and decision to cancel will incur heavy penalties.

We strongly encourage travellers to defer their travel plans instead of cancelling them outright. By delaying travel, the financial impact to the traveller is much lower than if the decision taken is simply to cancel travel plans based on a disinclination to travel.

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These FAQs cover rights as travellers, cancellations and postponements, travel insurance, and measures in place for managing the infection across South Africa, at its borders, and specifically within the travel and tourism sector.

Should I Take That Trip? 

Can I cancel a trip that I’ve booked out of fear of the coronavirus? You can always cancel your trip, but whether or not you will receive a full or partial refund depends on if you purchased a refundable ticket or package, and your specific insurance policy. Refundable airline tickets are more expensive than non-refundable ones but are a good idea if you’re unsure or apprehensive about your travel plans. Some airline will still charge a cancellation or change fee and/or there may be a strict cancellation policy meaning that there is a window of time within which you need to cancel your flight to receive a refund. The particulars depend on the airline and chances are that if you’re a frequent flyer with a lot of accrued miles, you will receive more leniency. Most flights are fully refundable if you cancel within 24 hours of the initial booking. Regular travel insurance may not cover cancellation due to the coronavirus outbreak because it is now considered a known and foreseeable event. However, some insurance providers are making exceptions. Be sure to enquire with your provider about the extent of your coverage during this time. For instance, all TIC policyholders are fully covered for emergency medical and related expenses should the traveller contract the coronavirus on their trip. For full coverage in the event of flight cancellations or travel bans by country or global authorities, you will need to be on one of TIC’s Leisure Comprehensive or Business plans. You can find out more about TIC’s terms concerning coronavirus here. If you have purchased a ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance policy within a couple of weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, then you may be covered for up to 75% of your costs.

Cancellation vs Delaying travel Plans

We strongly urge companies to encourage travellers to defer their travel plans instead of cancelling them outright. Corporate and leisure travel has been disrupted by many other crises in the past and always returned to normal, notwithstanding ash clouds, SARS, terrorist attacks, etc. By delaying their travel, the financial impact on the traveller is much lower than if the decision is taken to simply cancel travel plans based on a disinclination to travel. In most cases, the World Health Organization has confirmed there is a low risk associated with travel, while suppliers and destinations have also not announced cancellation waivers or travel bans, which would mean that the traveller’s disinclination to travel and decision to cancel will incur heavy penalties.  How do I pick a travel insurance policy? Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination. However, once an event has unfolded, such as the current coronavirus outbreak, it is considered a known or foreseeable event and is no longer covered by most travel insurance policies. Some travel insurance providers consider the current coronavirus outbreak to be a known event as of 21 January 2020. In this case, if you purchased travel insurance before this date, you will be covered for disruptions resulting from the outbreak; you will not be covered if you bought insurance after thishis is a text block. You can use it to add text to your template.

How do I pick a travel insurance policy?

Travel insurance policies will differ based on factors such as your age, the length of your trip, and what you want to be covered. A standard insurance policy may cover cancellation for events such as the sudden bankruptcy of a travel company, unexpected illness, or a natural disaster or unrest in the destination. However, once an event has unfolded, such as the current coronavirus outbreak, it is considered a known or foreseeable event and is no longer covered by most travel insurance policies. Some travel insurance providers consider the current coronavirus outbreak to be a known event as of 21 January 2020. In this case, if you purchased travel insurance before this date, you will be covered for disruptions resulting from the outbreak; you will not be covered if you bought insurance after this date.

The exception is ‘cancel for any reason’ (CFAR) insurance. This is usually available as an optional upgrade to a standard travel insurance plan and may cost up to 50% more than a standard plan. It typically needs to be purchased within one to three weeks from the time you booked your trip or made the initial deposit, and you must cancel your travel 48 hours prior to departure. Often available in two tiers, CFAR insurance can cover you for 50-75% of your total travel costs. Know that there is no-size-fits-all travel insurance plan and whichever you choose, be sure to read the full insurance contract before buying to check whether it applies to “worst-case scenarios,” such as illness or flight disruptions.

Waiving Change Fees/postpone or cancelling air tickets?

Above are some of the airlines who have in place temporary waiver policies in regard to changing or postponing your trip due to Coronova Virus. These policies can change frequently.  (There are many other airlines also with policies in place)

Leniency in rescheduling your flight will depend on the airline, route, and travel dates. Many airlines –have been relaxing change and cancellation terms. However, each airline’s policy is different – ranging from widespread fee-waiver policies to the more measured approach of fee waivers only for those flights to heavily affected areas (e.g. China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Italy), depending on the dates of their original flight. Applicable dates may vary for each region.

Depending on the airline and circumstances, you may be entitled to a full refund or voucher in the full amount of your airfare, or be able to postpone your travel at no additional charge. You need to check with your specific airline carrier for their current terms. If your purchase falls outside of this, you should still enquire, explain your situation, and ask for an exception.

There’s no guarantee, but many airlines are trying to be understanding and work with customers during this time. Please check with XL Oceanair Travel for each individual airline’s policy regarding any tickets you may have booked.

Microsite for daily updates on Coronova Virus.  Please use the link.

XL OCEANAIR’S GLOBAL PARTNER – Radius Travel and parent company, Travel and Transport, has created a microsite at

insights.travelandtransport.com/covid-19 

Precautionary measures for travellers to take to keep virus at bay

  1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Maintain at least three feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  3. Stay home when you are sick.
  4. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue safely.
  5. Clean and disinfect frequently-touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  6. Wearing a mask is not necessary unless you are taking care of an infected person. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does recommend that only infected people wear masks to prevent the spread of the virus.
  7. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  8. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water when hands are visibly dirty.
  9. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention immediately.
  10. Keep in mind the travel advisory set out by the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

 

 

Hollard Travel Insurance has launched tailor-made cover for travellers facing the uncertainty of the coronavirus

Travelling when the coronavirus Covid-19 is spreading across the world is nerve-racking, so Hollard Travel Insurance launched a new product on 4 March 2020 that will help travellers deal with the virus’s impact.
The product, simply named Covid19, adds several Covid-19-related elements to Hollard Travel Insurance’s existing cover that already includes cover for medical treatment while overseas and cancellations due to an unexpected illness.
Covid-19’s spread is presenting the travel industry with an unprecedented global challenge, one that changes daily. Hollard Travel Insurance continues to monitor advice and guidelines set out by relevant health authorities.
In developing the Covid-19 product, Hollard Travel Insurance consulted with experts.
The additional cover is designed to respond to concerns regarding international travel:

Reimbursement for proactive testing for Covid-19, irrespective of whether there is a manifestation of symptoms or not

● Cancellation cover has been expanded to include cover specifically for:
○ Cancellation or curtailment if a city listed in your itinerary has been isolated by state authorities due to the disease
○ Cancelled flights. A number of airlines have cancelled flights. We understand they may   reimburse clients for the flights; however, our policy will reimburse non-refundable accommodation costs due to the cancellation of flights
○ Event cancellation. A number of large global events have been cancelled in the last few days,   and if an event you have booked travel for has been cancelled, we will reimburse you for non-refundable flights and accommodation but excludes the cost of your visa
● If your flight has been delayed due to a medical emergency on board. You will be reimbursed additional expenses incurred during the delay for the purchase of refreshments, ie food, drinks and accommodation
● Repatriation to South Africa. If at any time you want to return to South Africa earlier than booked due to the threat of Covid-19 being reasonably present in your destination or transit city, we will reimburse the penalties/fees to change your airline ticket

 

 

 

 

Emirates introduces complete disinfection of all cabins (As well as many other airlines)

Emirates has introduced complete disinfection of all aircraft cabins for flights departing Dubai in response to the Coronavirus.
The extra steps go above and beyond industry and regulatory requirements to ensure its passengers’ health and comfort, and provide them with confidence and peace of mind when planning their travel.
The airline says it is using an approved chemical that is proven to kill viruses and germs, leaves a long-lasting protective coating against new contamination of viruses, bacteria and fungi on surfaces, and is eco-friendly.

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