FHTA Member Advice No. 2 on Cancellations due to Coronavirus

29 January 2020
Chinese Market Travel Cancellations.
Members are reminded that with Chinese Government’s current suspension of group travel out of China and the notice here from the China Association of Travel Services, and to support the Ministry of Health taking the prescribed cautionary approach to initiate preventive measures to deal with Coronavirus, FHTA advises members as follows:
1. Recommended Practice for Bookings and Cancellations
1. For Guests who have not yet arrived in the country
a) Should Guests cancel their travel then normal cancellation fees apply.
b) Should Guests postpone their travel i.e. rebook for new dates:
  • This should only be for bookings confirmed before 24 Jan 2020 for stays between 24 January and 29 February 2020 
  • Allow rebooking up to 31 October 2020 based on space available
  • Allow guest bookings to be redone till 10 February 2020 and waive applicable rate differences
2. For Guests who are in the country and No Shows
Failure to arrive at the booked hotel should be treated as per the hotel’s normal cancellation/no show policy. Guests should be able to claim against their travel insurance. If they have no travel insurance, that is their conscious decision and they take the risk.
This recommendation reminder is provided to allow consistency and to minimise confusion among our partners.
The Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association further advises members to stay alert to news of the virus. As well, please ensure staff are practicing the recommended safety and good hygiene procedures and immediately isolate and report any suspected cases of the virus by calling the following numbers:
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Media Release 4: 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Dated: 28/01/2020
‘Rapid public health detection and response systems the best protection against novel coronavirus’
The Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services is closely monitoring the current outbreak of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019 – nCoV) in China and is continuing its efforts to prepare for its potential introduction to Fiji. At present there are no confirmed cases of 2019 – nCoV in Fiji, or any other Pacific island country.

What is Fiji doing?

In response to the increased threat of 2019 – nCoV, the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services is working closely with relevant Government ministries, World Health Organization and partners to enhance its public health systems to rapidly detect, test and respond if a case is identified in Fiji.  This is because international spread of the disease is best stopped by rapid containment efforts at the source, and early detection and response, not by implementing unnecessary restrictions to international travel. Travel bans have been proven to be ineffective in stopping infectious diseases crossing borders, and may in fact worsen the impact of an outbreak. Fiji did not impose travel bans during the SARS epidemic in 2003 nor the H1N1 influenza (swine flu) pandemic in 2009. Most countries worldwide have not implemented travel bans in response to this outbreak in China, and they are not recommended by the World Health Organisation.
Alongside other countries globally, including New Zealand, Australia and the United States, Fiji has intensified efforts to reduce the risk of the virus being introduced and spreading in Fiji through a multilayered approach, including early identification of cases at the international borders and in the community, targeted awareness for high-risk persons, in particular travelers visiting or returning from affected areas, and enhancing the skills and resources of our health staff to rapidly respond if a case is identified.
As a core part of Fiji’s preparedness for possible introduction of the virus, the Ministry is working with international border control stakeholders, including airlines and airport and port authorities, to enhance existing mechanisms to detect ill travelers at international points of entry. Under Fijian legislation, airlines and vessels are required to report any ill passengers prior to disembarking. All travellers arriving on flights from Hong Kong and Singapore undergo additional health screening. And as an added health screening measure, all incoming passengers will soon be required to complete s supplementary arrivals card – an Arrival Health Declaration Form- to help ensure all travelers are checked for their potential exposure to the virus.
On Wednesday 29 January, the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services will begin providing refresher training to health workers on infection prevention and control measures, ensuring they are aware and equipped with the correct procedures and protective wear to safely respond to any potential cases.

What can you do?

Whilst we await further information about this new disease, at this time the Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services wishes to remind the public that staying calm and continuing to practice good hygiene is important in helping to protect them against many diseases.
This includes:
  • Frequently cleaning hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water;
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands;
  • Avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough;
  • Avoid non-essential travel to mainland China
  • If you have been to China in the last 14 days and develop any of the symptoms (fever, cough or difficulty breathing), immediately contact one of the numbers listed below. If you need to see a doctor please call ahead, using the following phone numbers, before visiting to reduce the risk of infecting other patients.
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The Fijian Ministry of Health and Medical Services is monitoring the developing situation and will provide updates regularly to the public.
Source: Ministry of Health & Medical Services