2019 corona virus and its impact on tourism in Africa

2019 corona virus and its impact on tourism in Africa: We have all heard about the corona virus and how it is affecting thousands of people in china infecting over 40,500 people in China alone, and with the current death toll being at 908.

The corona virus was first detected in a market in Wuhan in the Hubei Province, which is considered to be the heart of the outbreak of the deadly virus. The virus outbreak was first detected by a Chinese doctor named Li Wenliang, a 33 year old ophthalmologist based in Wuhan. He went the extra mile and alerted the general public of the outbreak. Dr. Li was reported dead on Friday, 7th February 2020, after succumbing to the virus.

The corona virus has greatly affected the tourism industry in Africa and the world at large, with many travelers cancelling their trips after travel bans have been set in various Chinese cities and other countries where the corona virus has infected a large number of people. Lots of flights going to or out of china have been cancelled, as well as other transport means like trains and buses which have been grounded; all in a bid to control  the wide spread of the deadly virus.

The impact of the corona virus on the tourism industry is being felt in many African countries including Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Democratic Republic of Congo. The number of Chinese travelers travelling to the African continent has increased over the past years, with majority of Chinese travelers seeking to explore the beautiful and vast safari landscapes of Africa, as well as yeaning to view the stunning wildlife on the continent.

However, the recent corona virus outbreak has seen a decrease in the number of travelers from the Asian continent to Africa. Although there are presently no current outbreaks of the corona virus in many African countries, travelers are still advised to take precautions in order to prevent future infections and spread of the corona virus. Here is what you should know about the corona virus!

What is the Corona Virus?

The Corona virus, which is also known as the 2019 Novel Coronavirus or 2019-nCoV, is a respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province in China. The virus is regarded as the novel corona virus because it is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified. The virus is not the same as the corona viruses that commonly circulate among humans and cause mild illnesses like flu, colds, and light coughs.

What is the source/cause of the 2019 Corona Virus?

The real source of the 2019 Corona virus has not yet been identified. However, it has been confirmed that the virus started spreading from a market in Wuhan that sells live animals, both domestic and wild. The virus was first detected in the Chinese city in December 2019. Generally, corona viruses are a large family of viruses, some causing illnesses in humans and others that circulate among animals, hence can be transmitted from human to human and animal to human. The 2019-nCoV has infected and killed more people in china than SARS, another corona virus that many people in china and was spread from civet cats. MERS is also another corona virus that emerged to infect people and was first spread from camels.

How is the 2019-nCoV virus spread?

The 2019 Corona Virus is said to have originally spread from an animal but later started spreading from person to person. The human to human spread of the virus is can happen at a fast rate and continuous sequence depending on the population numbers in a given town or city that has been affected by the virus. The virus can spread through droplets of bodily fluids such as saliva or mucus from an infected person, which are then transmitted in the air or on surfaces by coughing or sneezing. The incubation period of the corona virus is between one to 14 days. This is the length of time that the virus takes in an infected person before showing its first symptoms.

Which countries have been affected by the 2019 Corona Virus?

The 2019-nCoV virus has been reported in the following countries; China, South Korea, Philippines, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia, Australia, Vietnam, Germany, USA, France, Macao. The least affected countries include; Canada, U.A.E, U.K, India, Italy, Russia, Spain, Nepal, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Finland, and Belgium which have reported between one to seven persons infected with the corona virus.

What are the signs and symptoms of the 2019 Corona Virus?

Travelers should take note of the following common sign and symptoms of the 2019 corona virus; sneezing, a runny nose/flu, cough, a sore throat, shortness of breath, and fever. In severe cases, the virus can lead to pneumonia, SARS, Kidney or liver failure, and eventually death.

 What are the Precautions one should take against acquiring the Corona Virus?

Since there is currently no cure or vaccine for the 2019-nCoV virus, travelers are advised to take the following precautions;

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person suspected or infected with the 2019-nCoV corona virus. The most recommended type of mask to wear is an N95 respirator, which doctors believe is the best to protect one against acquiring the new corona virus.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick, and avoid physical contact with anyone, whether friends or family. If possible keep a safe distance of about one meter away from any individual, especially those coughing, sneezing and have a fever.
  • Practice respiratory hygiene i.e. cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow, handkerchief or tissue when coughing and sneezing. Always discard tissue into a closed bin immediately after use.
  • Seek medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms like fever, cough, a running nose, or difficulty in breathing.
  • Avoid eating uncooked animal products like beef, milk and eggs. Also, strictly avoid any contact with stray animals such as cats, dogs, rodents, birds and bats among others.
  • Avoid contact with potentially contaminated animal waste or fluids on the ground or on structures of shops and market facilities.
  • Postpone or cancel any travel plans to countries that have been infected with the 2019 corona virus.

Although there no reported cases of the 2019 corona virus in African countries like Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, travelers are stilled advised to take precaution when travelling. With these few safe health practices, travelers should be able enjoy their vacation holidays in Africa.

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