Coronavirus Update

The Covid-19 outbreak is now affecting people worldwide. As of 23/03/2020, the Zimbabwean government has imposed strict travel regulations for the next 21 days.

Government has banned all non-essential travel and traffic, both inbound and outbound, except for the movement of cargo. Government has also closed all borders to human traffic, excluding returning residents.

Is it still safe to travel abroad?

As of 21/03/2020, the WHO has confirmed that there are almost 300,000 cases of Covid-19 worldwide and has issued a ‘Very High’ risk warning.

As cases continue to increase, many countries are requesting individuals to stay at home in self-quarantine.

Should I delay my trip until after the coronavirus is over?

The nature of volunteering abroad means that volunteers are needed to support projects all year-round. This need is still very real, despite the coronavirus.

However, due to the recent travel restrictions announced as of 23/03/2020, Volunteer Encounter will no longer accept the arrival of any volunteers for the next 21 days. All placements will be deferred to a later date of the participants’ choosing.

We strongly recommend that if you have booked to come on a project with us this year and are in doubt whether you can keep to your original project dates, that you reschedule your placement instead of cancelling. This ensures that any monies that have been paid can still be distributed accordingly to assist existing teams on the ground with the important work they are doing with community development projects and wildlife conservation.

Should there be any change or update to the existing travel restrictions we will proactively contact all impacted volunteers. Any volunteer or prospective volunteer, who would like to know more can contact the Volunteer Encounter Team.

Recommendations for international travellers

  • The CDC recommends that travellers should avoid contact with sick people and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a flexed elbow or paper tissue when coughing or sneezing and disposing immediately of the tissue and performing hand hygiene;
  • Refrain from touching mouth and nose;

Should I wear a mask to protect myself against the coronavirus?

The WHO states that if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected Covid-19 and if you are coughing or sneezing. Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand washing or use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

How does this compare to other outbreaks?

COVID-19 and the flu have very similar symptoms. However, the common flu kills significantly more people on an annual basis than COVID-19 has in its totality. Those most at risk for experiencing severe cases of the coronavirus include the elderly and those who have serious medical conditions such as heart disease, lung disease and diabetes.

There have been almost 300,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and over 12,000 recorded deaths.

Final thoughts

It’s quite possible that fear and panic over the coronavirus are more prevalent than the actual sickness. However, it is important that you adhere to the guidelines as set out by the WHO as well as any travel restrictions imposed by the government.

Make sure to gather your information from trusted and professional sources before cancelling any plans.

The severity of Covid-19 has meant that many of the underprivileged communities that our projects support are going to suffer even more. These communities are still in dire need of help. If you are in a position to help, even in a small way, please do so by donating through the link below. Even a small contribution can go a long way.

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