South African Airways (SAA) would like to notify its customers that the airline will continue to offer a daily service between Johannesburg and Sao Paolo in Brazil after the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded there was no justification to impose a travel ban to Latin America and the Caribbean due to the outbreak of the Zika virus.
At its meeting held this week the WHO’s International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee on the Zika Virus concluded that the outbreak of the Zika virus is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern but saw no health justification to restrict travel and trade in areas affected by the virus.
It is strongly recommended that travellers take the necessary precaution and consult with their medical or healthcare practitioners for advice.
Furthermore, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) agrees with the South African National Department of Health that pregnant women should delay their travel to areas with current outbreaks of the Zika virus.
NICD: “We don’t have Zika in this country. It’s never been shown to be present in Africa below Uganda. We may see some return travellers who have been to Brazil having mild illness – but they do not pose a risk to others here”.
SAA already has communicable disease management procedures in place to protect our passengers, crew and ground staff. The staff is adequately trained to manage incidents of this nature, should a need arise.
SAA would like to further reassure customers that the airline has regulated disinfection procedures in place for all flights departing or arriving from South America. Extra disinfectant spray has been loaded to reinforce measures already in place.
The risk of mosquito-borne transmission on aircraft is extremely low.
SAA would like to urge everyone travelling to South America to take the necessary precaution and be vigilant.
Travellers to and from Zika affected areas are advised as follows:
- Travellers to Zika high-risk areas are to avoid known mosquito high concentrate areas and wear clothing that covers most parts of their bodies to prevent mosquito bites. See your healthcare practitioner if you are pregnant and develop fever, rash, joint pain or red eyes within two weeks after travelling to a country where Zika virus cases have been reported;
- Tell your healthcare provider where you travelled.
The airline remains committed to ensuring the enforcement of National and International health protocols associated with air transport in the interests of its passengers, and crew. The following links may be useful for additional information to travellers: