16 March 2020, Johannesburg – Following the meeting held by Cabinet to discuss the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Sunday, 15 March – President, Cyril Ramaphosa enforced travel bans to and from high-risk countries. This came after the number rose to 51 confirmed Coronavirus cases in South Africa.
Despite animals not being able to contract the COVID-19 virus, the travel ban still poses some significant challenges for pet owners looking to relocate their animal companions – mostly due to flight cancellations.
As it stands, the travel ban only applies to foreign nationals entering South Africa. This will consequently have a severe impact on the South African aviation industry as airlines are required to reduce their number of daily and/or weekly flights. Furthermore, Lufthansa recently announced they will no longer be transporting live animals to the USA during their two-month travel ban to prevent the virus from spreading even further.
“We will continue to monitor the situation very closely during this uncertain time,” said Hazel Imrie, Managing Director of Polarcargo. “Mitigation plans are being put into place to lessen the impact on pet owners as much as possible.”
Naturally, Polarcargo makes use of commercial flights, which will undoubtedly have an impact on a pet’s ability to travel between countries. Luckily, the company is equipped to assist with boarding facilities until such a time that flights can be booked.
“Polarcargo will continue to offer the best possible option for pet owners that promotes the welfare of their animals,” Imrie continued. “As fellow pet owners, we understand the rising concern and the urgency of reuniting pets with their loved ones. Hence we are doing everything we can to ensure a seamless transition and a happy reunion.”