For the best part of a year now, travel has been severely restricted due to the spread of Covid-19 around the world. Yet whilst vaccination rates have been increasing around the world and travel looks like it could restart sooner rather than later, there has been a new twist in the tale of virus-related restrictions.
Ebola, a rare and deadly disease that affects humans and primates, has resurfaced in some locations in Africa, leading the US State Department to issue a series of updates for the countries afflicted. Here’s what the updates are, how much of a threat Ebola is and a look at other advisory updates.
Travel Advisory Updates – What Travelers Should Know
Regardless of the popularity of the countries in question, the US Department of State is diligent when it comes to staying on top of threats to US travelers around the world. This week, the department updated the travel advisory pages of two countries gripped by the latest wave of Ebola infections – Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Both issued Level 3 travel warnings – second to only Level 4 in terms of severity, the pages of the countries explicitly advise travelers to “reconsider travel” to these countries due to the presence of Ebola, as well as due to the threat of Covid-19 and civil unrest. Guinea’s page tells travelers not to travel to the region of N’Zerekore due to the disease, whilst the Democratic Republic of Congo’s page warns travelers not to travel to the province of North Kivu because of Ebola.
US Response – Information For Travelers
Much like the country made changes to travel due to Covid-19, the US has shown how seriously it is taking the threat of Ebola with its response to the recent outbreaks. Travelers from Guinea and the DRC will be directed to six specific airports, and airlines will also collect passenger information for a public health follow-up and intervention. This will apply to all passengers boarding a flight to the US that were in either of the countries in the past 21 days.
Similar precautions were previously carried out 2014, following an outbreak of Ebola in Africa. Passengers coming from some of the hardest-hit nations, such as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, had their temperature’s taken and were asked if they had been exposed to anyone with Ebola.
Is There A Significant Risk To Travelers?
Despite the high mortality rate of Ebola, it boasts a relatively low infection rate between 1.5 and 2, making it far less infectious than other diseases such as measles, which has an infection rate of 18. Coupled with the remote nature of the recent outbreak – a handful of provinces in central and western Africa – means that it is unlikely to spread in the same manner that Covid-19 did.
Vaccination in Guinea is underway, which hopefully means that this outbreak will not reach the higher levels seen during recent outbreaks in 2014 and 2016, when the disease killed thousands of people and was brought to an end following widespread vaccination in the DRC.
Other Travel Advisory Updates
The US has also made other travel advisory updates in the past week. Grenada was handed a Level 2 travel warning, whilst Level 3 countries Algeria, Chad, Cyprus, Nepal, Saint Lucia and The Kyrgyz Republic also saw updates. South Sudan and Tanzania, both Level 4 countries, also faced updates.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories