Ebola in Africa: latest travel advice
Following the arrival in the UK of the first British victim of Ebola and our recent blog post about its spread and whether or not travellers to Africa should be worried about it, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have now issued travel advisories for Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.
Where before they did not issue any kind of advice they now advise against all but essential travel to those countries, with the exception of those who are directly involved in the direct response to the outbreak.
This is partly due to the impact on medical services and the narrowing options for commercial options for flights following British Airways and Air France announcements that they have suspended flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia and Sierra Leone respectively. Other airlines have also followed suit.
You can read all about the risks of contracting Ebola in our blog HERE. However, the new advice does change things for people who are planning to travel in terms of their travel insurance.
If you travel against the advice of the FCO
If you were to travel to any of these countries then we would be unable to insure your travel. It is a standard exclusion on our policies.
If you are booked on a flight to any of these countries
Your carrier should give you a refund or offer and exchange as it is their decision to suspend flights.
If you are booked on flights to neighbouring countries
Your travel insurance will still be valid. However, it should be noted that you cannot claim cancellation based on the fear of epidemic, so it is not considered as a reason not to travel. However, you should keep an eye on the FCO website HERE for changes in the advice.
Our post on the risks of Ebola may help to alleviate any worries you may have.
If you are booked on holidays to Morocco, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt
Your travel insurance will still be valid. If you decide not to travel then you will not be covered for cancellation as the fear of epidemic is not considered by our underwriters to be a valid reason for cancellation.
You may also want to read our post about the risks HERE.
If you are already in these countries
British nationals are advised by the FCO to stay in contact with the employer or host organisation about the support that they can provide to you while you are in the country or should you wish to leave. If you have a World First policy covering you whilst in these countries then we will cover you, unless you decide to stay.
Country specific advice from the FCO
For more information, see Know Before You Go.
On 30 July, President Koroma declared a State of Public Emergency. Measures include restriction of movement to and from affected areas, with some exemptions for NGO and health workers. You should confirm with your organisation whether you’ll be exempt from these restrictions. Further measures were announced on 07 August including a nationwide ban on public gatherings and increased restriction on movement of people and vehicles to the districts of Kailahun and Kenema for those not working on the response to the Ebola outbreak.
The Government has also introduced new protocols for arriving and departing passengers at Lungi International airport.
Sporadic demonstrations and local disturbances related to the Ebola outbreak have been reported across Sierra Leone. You should avoid crowds and demonstrations and familiarise yourself with the measures set out in the State of Public Emergency.
Enhanced screening measures have been introduced for outbound passengers at Conakry airport. Delays may be experienced at Guinea’s land border crossings, particularly those with Sierra Leone and Liberia, due to enhanced screening measures. There are reports that Guinea Bissau has closed its land borders with Guinea.
A state of emergency has been declared due to the Ebola outbreak. Since 20 August a nationwide curfew is being enforced by the security forces from 9pm to 6am every night when no movement is allowed. The Liberian authorities are setting up road blocks to restrict movement around the country (except for categories of essential workers) and using the security forces to enforce quarantine for certain areas including Lofa County. In Monrovia, authorities have now lifted the quarantine of West Point.
Travel restrictions enforced by the Liberian security forces are making it progressively difficult to move around the country. There have been outbreaks of violence associated with the Ebola outbreak. On 27 July, the government of Liberia announced that all borders of Liberia had been closed, with the exception of major entry points including the Roberts International Airport and James Spriggs Payne Airport. The Bo Waterside Crossing to Sierra Leone has subsequently been closed together with the Foya Crossing to Guinea, and remaining border crossings could be closed at minimal notice.