Members can log into www.internationalsos.com and view the travel alerts on the relevant country pages for more detail.
Anticipate travel disruption due to Ebola-related flight bans, health screening measures
The authorities in several countries have implemented entry restrictions to curtail the spread of Ebola from countries that have Ebola cases, while air carriers have restricted flights or modified schedules. Flights serving destinations inside and outside Africa may also be subject to diversion or delay with little or no warning in order to quarantine passengers suspected or claiming to be exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms.
Underlining the potential for such disruption, an Air France flight from Paris (France) to Madrid (Spain) on 16 October was grounded in the Spanish capital after a passenger who had travelled from Nigeria complained of feeling unwell. The passenger was subsequently quarantined in a local hospital. Earlier, a US Airways flight from Philadelphia (US) on 8 October was halted on arrival in the Dominican Republic after a passenger falsely claimed that he had contracted Ebola. The aircraft was then inspected by health officials, causing a delay of several hours.
Health screening has also been implemented at ports of entry and departure in various countries throughout West Africa and is being introduced in Europe and North America countries as well. Specific details of restrictions such as those listed below are difficult to verify and subject to change, while the implementation of state-imposed entry conditions can vary. Similarly, flight schedules may change at short notice.
Travellers departing from countries affected by an outbreak of Ebola should seek itinerary-specific guidance from the relevant authorities on screening procedures and documentation requirements. They should also reconfirm the status of flights before setting out and allow additional time during arrival and departure to pass through enhanced medical screening.
- Kenya on 10 October announced that it had closed the Suam border crossing (Trans-Nzoia county) with Uganda due to reports of an Ebola-related death in Bukwo district (Uganda). Earlier, the Kenyan authorities on 19 August suspended entry of passengers travelling from and through Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, excluding health professionals supporting efforts to contain the outbreak and Kenyan citizens.
- Cape Verde on 9 October announced that it would now deny entry to non-resident foreigners coming from countries with ‘intense Ebola transmission’ – Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia – or who have been to those countries in the previous 30 days.
- Mauritius on 8 October banned entry to all travellers who have visited Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Liberia, Senegal and Congo (DRC) in the last two months, rather than just citizens of those countries, as was the case previously. The authorities have announced that entry restrictions for travellers from Senegal and Nigeria will be lifted on 10 October and 17 October respectively, if no further cases of Ebola infection are reported.
- Seychelles on 8 October suspended entry to travellers who have visited Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Nigeria or Congo (DRC) 28 days prior to their journey, with the exception of Seychellois citizens.
- Côte d’Ivoire has reopened in early October its borders with Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
- Equatorial Guinea is denying entry to travellers whose journeys originated in countries affected by Ebola.
- Cameroon on 17 September reopened its borders to travellers from Senegal. An 18 August ban remains in place on travel from Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states – Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe – have stated that travellers coming from Ebola-affected countries (according to the World Health Organisation, WHO) would be monitored for 21 days and that travel to member countries for any gatherings would be discouraged. The SADC provided no details as to how member countries will carry out the associated screening and follow-up and it is likely that countries will have individual processes. There are also reports that some countries require health documentation for entry. Travellers are advised to contact the embassy or health ministry of their destination country to clarify their individual circumstances and prepare their trips accordingly.
- South Sudan has placed a ban on travellers coming from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia or Congo (DRC), or those who have travelled to those countries in the preceding 21 days. According to the health ministry, entry of travellers from Nigeria depends on their travel history in that country and whether they have visited Ebola-affected areas.
- Namibia’s foreign ministry on 11 September announced that foreigners travelling from countries affected by Ebola would be prohibited from entering the country.
- Gambia on 1 September suspended entry of persons who have visited Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone or Nigeria in the 21 days prior to travel. Those travelling indirectly from any of the aforementioned countries to Gambia via another country also come under this measure.
- Côte d’Ivoire announced on 23 August that it had closed its land borders with Guinea and Liberia.
- Gabon stated on 22 August that it is restricting the issuance of entry visas to travellers from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria on a case-by-case basis.
- Rwanda, according to the US Department of State on 22 August, has banned entry to travellers who have visited Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone in the 22 days prior to travel.
- Senegal on 21 August closed its land border with Guinea, while the country’s sea and air borders will also be closed to vessels and aircraft from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Chad on 21 August closed its land border with Nigeria at Lake Chad. The country previously reportedly banned the entry of any travellers originating or transiting through Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria or Sierra Leone, with airlines serving the country reportedly rerouting flights.
- South Africa on 21 August restricted entry for all non-citizens travelling from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The government subsequently clarified that this was not a blanket ban and could be waived for ‘absolutely essential travel’.
Flights and other transport
Countries that have implemented Ebola-related travel restrictions:
- Gambia has banned the entry of flights from Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
- Gabon has banned the entry of flights and ships from countries affected by Ebola.
- Senegal has banned flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Cameroon has banned flights to and from Nigeria.Chad has suspended all flights from Nigeria.
- Nigeria has suspended flights to the country operated by Gambian national carrier Gambia Bird.
- Côte d’Ivoire has now lifted the ban on passenger flights from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Details of airlines that have restricted flights to Ebola-affected countries:
- Air France suspended flights to Sierra Leone from 28 August.
- The Togo-based carrier Asky Airlines has suspended flights to and from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Arik Air (Nigeria), Gambia Bird and Kenya Airways have suspended services to Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- British Airways has extended their suspension of flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone until 31 December.
- Emirates Airlines has suspended flights to Guinea.
- Korean Air suspended flights to and from Kenya from 20 August.
- Senegal Airlines has suspended flights to and from Conakry (Guinea) until further notice.
Other airlines have modified their routes but are still operating regular scheduled services. These include:
- Royal Air Maroc
- Brussels Airlines.
Entry and exit health screening is now in place in numerous countries throughout West Africa and is being introduced in Europe and North America countries as well; related measures can include the partial closure of land borders, ports and river crossings in an effort to restrict cross-border travel. Members should allow additional time to pass through medical screening and not travel if they are sick. Staff should continue to monitor local media and this website for developments.
Travel Advice Summary
- Defer non-essential travel to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
- Travellers flying from countries affected by Ebola should enquire with the relevant embassies or health ministries about any requirements conditioning entry at their destination, and prepare accordingly.
- Reconfirm bookings on all regional routes as increased demand is likely. We do not hold information on specific flights.
- If your flight is disrupted because of suspected Ebola cases, contact the Assistance Centre for additional advice and support with onward travel.
- Allow additional time during arrival and departure to pass through enhanced medical screening.
- Do not travel if you are sick. Persons with fever or other Ebola-like symptoms may be taken to designated centres or have entry/exit denied.