I'm sure that everyone who is booked on safari for 2020 has already been in contact with their outfitter and their air carrier. All airlines are going to be waiving change fees and creating more flexible policies to accommodate those who are impacted from the travel bans. I am also quite sure that all of the outfitters are going to do whatever they can to work with their clients to reschedule their safaris to later in 2020, or into 2021...
Many African outfitters begin their hunting seasons in March, so the timing of the impact of this situation could not have come at a worse time.... Obviously, this situation is going to be devastating to the economy of Southern Africa. I encourage everyone to re-book your safari to later dates in 2020 if possible, or defer them to 2021. Please do not cancel your safaris.... The delays and inconvenience that everyone is dealing with will be worth the incredible experience that awaits you in Africa once this is all over.
Western Cape Province- Capetown
Africa’s COVID-19 cases jump 43% in single week WHO: Continent of 1.3B could be next epicenter Gerald Imray ASSOCIATED PRESS CAPE TOWN, South Africa – Africa registered a 43% jump in reported COVID- 19 cases in the past week, highlighting a warning from the World Health Organization that the continent of 1.3 billion could become the next epicenter of the global outbreak. Africa also has a “very, very limited” and “very, very strained” testing capacity, John Nkengasong, director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in his weekly briefing Thursday. The surge in infections on the continent is almost certainly underreported and even higher in reality, medical experts say. WHO’s recent report painted a grim picture for Africa, one of the last continents to be hit by the pandemic. WHO warned the virus could kill more than 300,000 people and push 30 million into desperate poverty. Africa still has time to avert such a disaster, Nkengasong said, but testing people and tracing virus cases is critical. “It all depends on what we are discussing here, which is, are you testing? Are you finding the cases? Are you isolating and tracking the contacts?” Nkengasong said, adding that the WHO report “is not a prediction that means it must happen.” By Nkengasong’s own criteria, Africa is struggling on the testing front. In the two months since the continent began mobilizing to fight the outbreak, fewer than 500,000 tests have been conducted on the population of more than 1 billion. That’s just 325 people tested per 1 million people, Nkengasong said. African governments reported a total of nearly 26,000 cases as of Thursday, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up from just over 16,000 a week ago. About 1,200 people have died. Although those figures are still relatively small in the global picture, the sharp increase in cases is a cause for concern, Nkengasong said. The previous week saw an increase of 29%. The Africa Centers for Disease Control has a target of conducting 1 million more tests in Africa over the next four weeks and 10 million tests in the next four months. The effort is badly hampered, Nkengasong said, by a major obstacle: the existing fragility of the health services in many African countries. It’s not exclusively bad news for Africa. South Africa has nearly 4,000 reported cases, according to its health ministry, the highest in Africa. It also saw a big one-day jump of 318 new cases on Thursday, and 75 people have now died. But Africa’s most developed economy is being praised for an aggressive testing program. South Africa, aided by an existing infrastructure, has carried out more than 140,000 tests, according to its health minister. And “they are starting to see a bending of their curve.” said Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s regional director for Africa. South Africa’s early and tentative signs of success – helped, maybe, by a strict lockdown – are being set off by “concerning increases” in virus cases in some countries in West Africa and East Africa, Moeti said.
“AFP S.Africa to gradually 'ease' virus lockdown from May 1 Sofia CHRISTENSEN April 24, 2020, 4:39 AM CDT A homeless man stands with some of his belongings at a usually busy promenade in Capetown, now mostly deserted because of the coronavirus lockdown (AFP Photo/RODGER BOSCH) A homeless man stands with some of his belongings at a usually busy promenade in Capetown, now mostly deserted because of the coronavirus lockdown (AFP Photo/RODGER BOSCH) More Pretoria (AFP) - South Africa's five-week coronavirus lockdown will be slowly eased from next month, President Cyril Ramaphosa said Thursday as he sought a balance between protecting people and letting them "earn a living."
Ramaphosa rolled out strict confinement measures on March 27, under which people were only allowed to leave their homes for groceries, pharmaceuticals and medical appointments.
Though infections rose to nearly 4,000 cases on Thursday and 75 deaths -- the highest in Africa -- the spread has slowed during an initial three-week lockdown period that was later extended until April 30.
But authorities have struggled to keep people indoors -- particularly in overcrowded townships -- and many businesses feared they would not be able to recover from a prolonged shutdown.
"We have accordingly decided that beyond Thursday the 30th of April, we should begin a gradual and phased recovery," Ramaphosa said in a televised address.
"We will implement what we call a risk-adjusted strategy through which we take a deliberate and cautious approach to the easing of current lockdown restrictions."
A $26 billion relief package was announced earlier this week to stimulate the economy and cushion vulnerable people during the coronavirus pandemic.
"While a nationwide lockdown is probably the most effective means to contain the spread of the virus, it cannot be sustained indefinitely," Ramaphosa said, adding that "clear evidence" showed the restrictions had been working.
"Our people need to eat, they need to earn a living. Companies need to produce and trade."
While South Africans are still encouraged to remain home, some businesses will be able to resume operations "under specific conditions" and in a "phased manner" as of next month.
Borders are to stay shut and travel between provinces remains forbidden.
- 'Tough battle' ahead -
There was no mention of a controversial ban on alcohol sales.
But people will be allowed to purchase cigarettes and exercise outdoors in "strict public health conditions".
The gradual lifting of confinement measures will be compensated by investment in public health.
Ramaphosa called on all citizens to start wearing face masks outdoors and pledged 20 million rand (around $1 million) for hospital beds, medicine and equipment to tackle an expected "peak of infections".
Health Minister Zweli Mkhize warned South Africa still had a "tough battle to fight".
Meanwhile, the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) party hailed Ramaphosa's announcement as a "smart lockdown model".
"What is crucial is that any such a phased lifting of lockdown restrictions is accompanied by both a massive increase in testing... and reliable data," the DA said in a statement.
Some 28,000 community health workers have been deployed across South Africa to screen and test its 57 million inhabitants.
Government also plans to send more than 73,000 extra troops to enforce coronavirus regulations.
Political analyst Daniel Silke warned it would be more difficult to lift the lockdown than it was to impose it.
"It's not just being unsure of exactly how to tackle this in terms of the regulations," Silke told AFP.
"It is unsure what effect it will have on the health of South Africans."”
You are so right there
If I had a trip planned this year I would be thankful I booked with Ken.
He is moving hunts out to future dates.
And good luck to those in SA that are about to experience a spike in the pandemic.
“ Change fee waivers have been extended to allow travel through Sept. 30, 2022 for customers who have upcoming travel booked as of today through Sept. 30, 2020 or have canceled travel from flights in March through Sept. 30, 2020”.
Good luck all.
On 4/15 RSA reported total 2415 cases and 27 deaths. On 4/30 they reported total 5350 cases and 103 deaths.
The best sources I’ve been able to find on RSA Corona are News24.com for news and worldometers.info/Coronavirus for cases and deaths.
I really have to question the validity of the numbers as the number of daily tests are unknown, the validity of the tests are unknown and the reliability of the tests results and number of deaths are unknown.
If the virus thrives on cool/cold temperatures, RSA is definitely headed in that direction with winter approaching.
Anyone who has traveled Africa knows of the poor health program, the poverty and the poor health of the majority of the population. The country offers perfect conditions for a devastating crisis.
Plus, with alcohol and cigarettes being cut off, those are the makings for major detox conditions !
There been 106K COVID deaths in the US so I am not sure I understand the point.
I was thinking the same thing, Matt. The models that hunt forever is dismissing have proven to be fairly accurate.
Africa is the last place I'd want to be during a pandemic.
But it’s pretty much a web of uncertainty everywhere.
International travel and hunting during 2020 is looking less and less likely. One trip to Asia was already postponed and another that was scheduled for Greenland in September currently in jeopardy. And so it goes. We have no power to influence the situation. So, I’m just staying in touch with my outfitters and staying on top of the changing travel restrictions. Good news is airlines are being flexible on affected flights - Turkish Airlines is refunding my ticket for my cancelled flight.
Good news is - when things do finally open back up there will certainly be some cancellations available.
What that means is the numbers have reached >100K much slower than initial predictions.
Depending on how soon vaccine trials and vaccine rollouts happen, particularly the two key points
1) Do they happen at all in 2020?
2) If so Do they "beat" the fall outbreak that is inevitably coming?
We may see the totals reach well into the middle to upper limits of the model predictions.
If an effective vaccine "magically" appears by late summer and if the Public Health agencies can summon the money and staff AND if the political situation is still stable enough to accomplish targeted mass vaccinations for the highest risk populations, we may see the total numbers stay under 200K
None of this is a surprise to anyone working in the public health and prevention and response community.
We haven't seen "best case" but so far we are a LONG way from "worst case" scenarios, which weren't so much about total cases and total deaths, but about how quickly we reached those numbers