COVID-19 update: Tanzania 2021
Dear Medi Trippers
I’m sure by now many of you would have heard a new mutant strain has been detected in South Africa. At the time of writing, the Omicron strain has not been detected in or near East Africa or Tanzania.
What do we know so far? Most viruses – including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 – evolve over time. This will always happen as long as the virus exists. When a virus replicates or makes copies of itself, it sometimes changes a little bit, which is normal for a virus. These changes are called “mutations”. Any virus with one or more new mutations can be referred to as a “variant” of the original virus (World Health Organisation, November 2021).
A South African doctor who was one of the first to suspect a different coronavirus strain said on November 28th 2021 that symptoms of Omicron were so far very mild and could be treated at home. All patients found with the strain with mild symptoms were unvaccinated.
So what is next? We remain cautiously optimistic that this development has been detected and acted upon very early. It is unlikely that Tanzania will ban travel to and from Europe, United States and western countries however we remain vigilant. It is more likely bans will be imposed on Southern African countries. We do not anticipate any interns will be stopped from travel as long as they follow strict protocol.
What is the travel protocol for Tanzania?
All our volunteers and interns must present a negative test for COVID 19, this must be sent to us before you depart. All travellers will received an additional test ($25 USD) at the airport on arrival in Tanzania. Should anyone be positive, they will be quarantined for 10 days and released once they show a negative test result. This has been in place since 2020 and we have not relaxed our approach.
Everyone is asked by Medi Trip to complete the Health Declaration form and notify us of any symptoms or becoming unwell. Anyone becoming unwell will immediately be isolated and referred to one of the major health centers in town.
Arrival in Tanzania
All travellers are asked by Tanzania immigration to complete a health screening form online before arrival.
All interns and volunteers are asked to provide proof of comprehensive travel insurance before arrival. Health insurance should cover your entire trip and cover you for any health or travel emergencies.
Departure from Tanzania On departure from Tanzania, we encourage everyone to take a PCR test (budget $100 USD) at any of the COVID hospital centers in Arusha. You may be asked to take an antigen test at the airport before departure by your airline or your destination country.
Make note of your embassy contact details in Tanzania and have a personal plan in place if anything should happen. What about Vaccinations?
We are encouraging everyone to present proof of vaccination for COVID-19. And of course strict cleaning and hand-washing policies remain in place.
What is the current COVID situation in Tanzania?
The government and Ministry of Health have issued regular precautions such as masks, hand-washing, vaccinations and social distancing to the public. There have been no reports noted of any major incidents or spikes and no detection of the Omicron in Tanzania at this time. There are currently no restrictions or travel bans to or from Tanzania in place.
What if the situation changes? In 2020 we implemented a change in our procedures allowing anyone to choose to postpone their trip. Many did so with no hassle and had problem free journeys to Tanzania and back when they rejoined our program. If you are in Tanzania and any major incident happens, we will immediately shut down and quarantine everyone as we did in 2020. We will support anyone to evacuate or change their flights.
The Tourism and Diplomatic Police Unit
We have good contact with the Tourism and Diplomatic Unit at the Central Police station in Arusha who can help to connect travellers to their respective embassies if there is an urgent crisis.
Please make note our terms and conditions for payment for cancellations or changes after arrival as we cannot offer refunds for payments made at that stage. It is important you read our terms and conditions and agreements which are sent to everyone at the stage of payment. We cannot be held responsible for failure to read or familiarise yourself with our terms and conditions which you agree to by receiving our services. You will also have the option to pay your final placement fee up to 1 day before arrival to allow for any changes.
As a team we advise that all travellers should be conscientious and remain vigilant at all times in any foreign location. It is important we take safety of ourselves, our property and those around us seriously and hold respect for the people in the community that is welcoming us in at all times.
Finally, we wish to continue to welcome you to Tanzania and thank you for your patience and understanding. This journey is far more than just travel, but is about bridging cultures, exchanging knowledge and creating understanding for a better future. We will continue to be grateful to everyone sharing in this journey and do whatever we can to adapt to ensure we are contributing to positive solutions for all.