Updated 5th October 2021
FAQs: Vaccination roll-out, travel in a time of Covid-19 and our operational procedures.
As tourism gains traction, we continue to focus on the current and post-COVID travel reality. We have a dedicated team of professionals constantly monitoring the rapidly changing environment, especially with regard to vaccinations and test requirements. In this latest version, we address some of the frequently asked questions we have received to date.
These will continue to be expanded on and should you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to reach out. The health and safety of both our guests and our staff remains a top priority. Our Covid-19 preventative measures plus health and safety protocols are of a high standard at all our camps. Our detailed standard operating procedures are available on request.
Please rest assured that our camps have been open and operating since July 2021 and we are totally satisfied with the Covid-19 protocols that we have in place to ensure that our clients have an enjoyable holiday and that our staff body also remain safe at all times.
Q 1, What is our employee vaccination status? We are actively supporting and engaging with all Governments in their vaccine roll-out programs. Our staff have and continue to receive education surrounding the vaccine and are encouraged to take the vaccine as soon as it becomes available to them. Almost all are now vaccinated.
Q 2, Which vaccines have our staff been receiving? In Kenya, all our staff have had Astra Zeneca vaccines and in Rwanda some staff have had Astra Zeneca and some have had Pfizer.
Q 3, What is the recommended process should a guest test positive while travelling, prior to departure i.e. for mandatory country entry requirements? In general, if a traveller tests positive (including without showing symptoms), one should assume they are positive until another test can be conducted. We advise doing at least another two tests to confirm. Although rare, it is possible that the first positive result could turn out to be non-significant (remnants of a past infection or a mishap at the lab). Two further tests would at least confirm the guests’ status. Port Health will accept anyone with a negative RT-PCR test regardless of past results, so there have been guests who continue testing until they get a negative result and then fly out on that. If the traveller tests positive during or at the end of an itinerary, we will inform the relevant suppliers but only do so once the second test has been conducted and we have confirmation. It is not our responsibility to do contact tracing but as courtesy, we will provide a heads-up.
Q 4, Are Governors’ camp staff screened/tested for Covid-19? Our staff are screened and tested prior to returning to camp for duty. Depending on the area and camp, staff are rotated usually every second to third month. We have a very robust COVID-19 prevention and testing process, to help staff recognise and isolate anyone with at risk symptoms. This process also involves our medical consultation team who are available 24/7. Furthermore, we are constantly educating and monitoring staff around COVID-19, vaccines and keeping themselves and others safe. To date our COVID-19 measures have been highly effective. It’s important to understand that infection rates remain very low in these regions compared to other parts of the world and the camp environment lends itself to a very low risk environment to spread COVID-19.
Q 5, If the traveller tests positive for COVID-19 in the weeks before travel, has completed the obligatory quarantine period and is showing no symptoms – will a doctor’s note to this effect be acceptable, as they can still test positive just prior to travel? Unfortunately, Immigration officials will not accept a doctor’s note, regardless of quarantine and time of recovery, or if there are no obvious symptoms. A negative RT-PCR test result is required to enter any of the countries in east and southern Africa.
Q 6, If the traveller has been fully vaccinated prior to departure, do they have still need to do the RT-PCR testing? Yes, presently travellers still require RT-PCR tests prior to travel to the majority of our operational regions regardless of whether or not they have received the vaccine. This is in accordance with Government laws. Current health information indicates that people who are vaccinated may still contract and carry the virus, placing those who are unvaccinated at risk. We have no control over enforced restrictions, and will of course alert everyone should there be any change. Until then, please refer to the current restrictions prescribed by Government only.
Q 7, How does the timing of RT-PCR tests and timing requirements work? Due to queries received, we have removed any attempted interpretation of COVID-19 test requirements from our collateral and will simply use the terms described by governments verbatim going forward. Guests and agents can interpret them as they are read. Each country provides clear description of the timing and tests required. We understand the frustration in trying to arrange itineraries whilst taking timing of RT-PCR tests into account, but under no circumstances should one take a chance in testing the strictness of the immigration authorities. The consequence of doing so will be far worse than incurring the costs and/or inconvenience of including an additional overnight or two.
Q 8, Can we complete the COVID-19 testing forms in bulk for groups of travellers, or on behalf of guests? Please remember that a COVID-19 test is a medical procedure and as with any medical procedure, the informed consent and signature of the individual undertaking the procedure is always required. While anyone can complete the very basic information i.e. name and flight details, the traveller must read and sign the form, adding their specific contact details. We do not wish to take responsibility of receiving and communicating guest test results unless they specifically request this, but we shall always assist with this as far as we possibly can.
Q 9, What happens if a guest tests positive while travelling and has moderate to severe symptoms? The guest will be asked to isolate in their room or tent while the camp managers contact our Medical Advisor, who will liaise with department of health officials. The condition of the guest/s will dictate what the next steps will be. In milder cases, the guest/s will have a choice of quarantining in-situ at that camp or moving by road to Nairobi or Kigali for quarantine if suitable accommodation can be found. In the event that symptoms are more serious, we would motivate to have them medically evacuated to a private hospital in Nairobi or Kigali for quarantine where (if) suitable accommodation can be found. This would be done directly from camp with medical staff. Most travel insurers cover the costs associated with medical care and trip interruption on the basis of a positive COVID19 test result. It’s therefore important for travellers to ensure their insurance policies cover COVID-19 related incidents.
Q 10, What if one member of a party tests positive but the other(s) are negative, can the negative members continue with their travel plans or do they also have to quarantine because they were exposed to a positive? In the matter of the other guests in the same group all testing negative, this is plausible, but we would suggest that they receive two tests to confirm the result before continuing their trip. We do not often see small groups leaving each other behind, but if they are negative and wish to continue, they may do so. We will always endeavour to find the most suitable option for the guest/s and the situation, however it may depend on where they are, how serious the symptoms are, what the government or health authorities want to do, etc.
Q 11, How do you handle the rest of the guests and staff in camp plus contract tracing? Any staff who would have had contact with the guests will be isolated and tested over the week to monitor possible transmission. Where possible, we keep groups of guests separate (own vehicles, dining, waitressing staff, etc), thereby limiting the possibility of spread to the rest of the camp. If we find that two groups of guests have been socialising, we would of course inform them of the situation and arrange for a test. Our medical team along with the health officials will assess the medical risk and likelihood of spread, and advise accordingly. We will communicate this information to the guest and the agent throughout so that there is agency in the decision-making and understanding of options/processes.
Q 12, What happens if a guest tests positive whilst at a 3rd party establishment that we have booked? Our Governors’ Safaris incident management team does not override the medical response processes of third party operators. So, if a guest tests positive while staying at a third party establishment, that property will activate their own response to the situation. The response depends a lot on the degree of symptoms the guest is showing i.e. if the guest’s symptoms are severe, they are deteriorating fast etc, then the third party would activate their own emergency response providers. However, if the guest is asymptomatic/mild symptoms (majority of cases) and they do not want to continue their stay at the third party property, then we or the booking agent can step in to look at options. Transport-wise, a private charter or vehicle could be arranged to take them to alternative or more affordable accommodation. Note that most travel insurance policies now cover trip interruptions and associated expenses for COVID-19, but only if you test positive.
Q 13, How is health and safety ensured on small aircraft flights with Governors’ Aviation? Stringent safety measures have been applied, based on IATA and WHO recommendations for aircraft travel. Pilots will provide an additional brief to passengers on all pre-flight cleanliness measures taken, as well as on-board hygiene actions i.e. mask wearing and hand sanitiser. The entire aircraft will be disinfected each day and after each flight. Before new passengers board the aircraft, the seats, armrests, safety cards and seatbelts will be wiped down with disinfectant.
If you have any additional questions or concerns that we have not answered in this document, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org