The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice for a number of countries in Central and South America, some Caribbean islands, Cape Verde, Fiji, American Samoa, Samoa, Tonga, the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Thailand and the Maldives to reflect the health advice of The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNac) in relation to the Zika Virus.
This list includes several destinations that we visit on our tours. Links to the relevant FCO travel advice can be found below…
- Maldives https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/maldives
- Tonga https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/tonga
- Thailand https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/thailand
ZIKV is a dengue-like virus that is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The infection often occurs without symptoms but can also cause an illness similar to dengue. The condition is usually mild and short-lived; severe disease is uncommon and insect bite avoidance measures are recommended.
Recently, a possible link between exposure to Zika virus (ZIKV) in pregnancy and microcephaly and other congenital malformations has been identified and investigations are ongoing. Whilst investigations continue, NaTHNaC advises if you are pregnant you should consider avoiding travel to areas where ZIKV outbreaks are currently reported. If travel is unavoidable, or you live in areas where ZIKV is reported, you should take scrupulous insect bite avoidance measures, both during daytime and night time hours.
In conjunction with ABTA, we advise that pregnant women already booked to travel to any of the destinations affected, should seek medical advice from their GP and contact us.
We will provide free booking amendments to any travellers who are already pregnant and any other members of their travelling party. This will cover unrestricted changes of departure date or destination. If the new booking is cheaper then a refund will be provided, and if it is more expensive then the difference will need to be covered.
If customers currently booked to travel with us become pregnant closer to their departure date, then free amendments will be provided if we are notified at least 8 weeks before departure, after which date cancellation fees will apply.
Our normal booking conditions will apply to any other travellers.
Where it is necessary to change or cancel holiday arrangements in light of the NaTHNaC advice, affected travellers should request that their GP provides them with a medical certificate in order to assist with them with any possible insurance claim.
Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with ZIKV and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures. It is also important to read and keep up to date with the current NaTHNaC advice…
This new health advice from NaTHNaC highlights just how important it is to both check the FCO travel advice and buy travel insurance which covers holiday arrangements from the moment the booking is made.
We will continue to monitor the Zika virus situation closely and will provide updates as appropriate. We will also be contacting all customers travelling to these areas directly.