CORONAVIRUS

Avoid China, travel agents advise clients

Say travellers should put off non-essential travel until virus is contained.

In Summary
  • On Friday, Kenya Airways suspended all its flights to Guangzhou, China.
  • The national carrier had come under pressure to suspend its flights to China in the wake of continued widespread of the new virus.
Kenya Airways plane.
Kenya Airways plane.

Tour operators have advised their clients against travelling to certain parts of China unless it is extremely important.

The Kenya Association of Travel Agents said the risk of contracting the coronavirus in places such as Wuhan city is extremely high.

Wuhan, which is in the province of Hubei, is the epicentre of the current outbreak, which has so far killed 213 people in China, with 9,692 infected. The virus has been recorded in 18 countries. 

On Friday, Kenya Airways suspended all its flights to Guangzhou, China. The Nairobi-Guangzhou route is one of KQ's most lucrative, fetching about Sh14.9 million on a round trip. 

The national carrier had come under pressure to suspend its flights to China in the wake of continued widespread of the virus.

KATA chief executive Agnes Mucuha urged travellers to put off non-essential travel to parts of China until the virus is contained.

 

She supported the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which issued an alert asking Kenyans to avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan city and Hubei province in China until the outbreak is under control.

“The outbreak of this contagious disease that has led to the loss of life is quite unfortunate. We should however not panic but instead take precautionary measures to avoid contracting the virus,” Mucuha said in a statement on Friday.

She advised travellers and the public to follow directives issued by the Ministry of Health on measures to take to reduce the risk of infection.

“KATA travel agents have the interest of their clients at heart and will advise their travellers on the best course of action to take in order to safeguard from contracting the virus,” Mucuha said.

KATA is the national umbrella body for travel agents in Kenya, with a growing membership of more than 200 travel agencies.

On Friday, Kenya Airways said it is in consultation with the Health and Foreign Affairs ministries and will provide updates as the situation develops.

"Further to our prior communication regarding the current coronavirus outbreak, we have temporarily suspended all flights starting January 31, 2020, until further notice," KQ said.

"We, however, clarify that our service between Nairobi and Bangkok remains operational.

"We apologise to all our customers for the inconvenience and reaffirm that the safety of our customers and staff remains our highest priority." 

Edited by Josephine M. Mayuya