Ebola and my travel plans: Should I be worried?

Asia Ebola
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Asia Ebola
Ebola in Asia

Ebola Travel Plans

It seems that the world is somewhat less frightened about Ebola than it was just a few weeks ago, but it is still worth asking the question whether the threat of the virus could have any effect on your travel plans.

In the great scheme of things, unless you’re thinking of taking a business or leisure trip to West Africa, then the answer is clearly “no”, but it looks like passengers may have to face some minor disruption while the world’s travel industry and government get to grips with the threat the virus brings.

Luckily for you, your author has an eminent virologist in the family, and the Professor’s immediate advice to you is this: “Relax, you’re not going to die of Ebola.” And he should know – he’s worked with some of the world’s scariest diseases, and he’s reached the age of 78 completely unscathed.

Of course, Asia’s well used to viral health scares, with the SARS coronavirus and H5N1 Avian Flu ripping through our vocabularies, and making Singapore an unwelcome centre of world attention after local SARS cases in March 2003.

That means we’re taking absolutely no chances with Ebola. Citizens of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been added to the [remarkably small] list of countries that require a visa to visit Singapore, while Singaporeans are advised strongly against travelling to these West African states.

In fact, we’re not the only Asia-Pacific country taking Ebola seriously. The Philippines quarantined its own peace-keeping forces for 21 days after they were pulled out of Sierra Leone for their own safety. This as the UK actually puts its forces in harm’s way, setting up a hospital in Liberia.

So, our message is a simple one: Unless your travel plans involve the highly unlikely destinations of Sierra Leone, Liberia or Guinea, then continue as before. You might find an extra screening at destination airports, but these are mostly for show as the greatest effort is to prevent Ebola leaving West Africa in the first place.

But take this as a timely reminder to make sure that your travel insurance is up to date, and covers you for such eventualities as flight delays, illness and cancellations. It is 100% unlikely that Ebola will affect you in any way, but that doesn’t mean travel disaster can’t strike at any time.

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