Month: February 2016

Qatar Airways will upgrade to non-stop B787 Dreamliner service three times weekly between Doha and Maputo, Mozambique, effective 27 March 2016. The airline currently serves the Doha – Maputo route three times a week via South Africa’s largest city Johannesburg.With the start of the new non-stop service to Maputo International Airport, passengers from Europe, the Americas, the Middle East and Asia Pacific can now take advantage of a seamless one-stop connection to Mozambique’s capital city via Doha, saving approximately five hours per direction from prior itineraries.

Travellers from Mozambique will have more convenient options to more than 150 destinations around the world, including popular destinations like Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, Karachi, Mumbai, Delhi and Dubai.

Qatar Airways launched scheduled flights in October 2012 to Maputo, Mozambique’s cultural, political and commercial centre. With today’s announcement to de-link flights from Johannesburg, Qatar Airways’ Maputo route will become a dedicated non-stop service between Qatar and Mozambique operated on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said that today’s announcement is a significant vote of confidence in the Mozambican travel market: “Three years ago, Qatar Airways began flights to Maputo via Johannesburg, and over that time we have seen a consistent increase in demand resulting in today’s announcement, making our Maputo-Doha flights non-stop. We are very pleased that we will now be able to provide leisure and business passengers shorter, more convenient flights when travelling between Doha and Maputo.”

Article Source: Travel Daily News

As health authorities across the Americas struggle to control the spread of Zika virus, Simon Calder, The Independent’s Travel Correspondent, answers readers’ questions about the threat the infection poses to travellers

Q Is Zika like the Ebola outbreak?

No – except for the degree of needless panic it has created among some prospective travellers. There are very significant differences. Ebola fever is difficult to catch but often fatal; Zika virus is easy to catch but, for most people, harmless. Only about one in five people who are infected with Zika develop symptoms, which include a fever, a rash and aching joints.

Crucially, though, health officials believe that when the virus is caught by pregnant women, it may cause microcephaly: babies born with an unusually small head, a disability that causes life-long problems. That is why the World Health Organization deem Zika a “public health emergency of international concern,” as it did with Ebola.

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Article Source: Independent

The Zambian government said on Thursday that it had taken seriously the global alert by the World Health Organization (WHO) on the reported cases of the Zika virus in some parts of South America and is putting in place measures to ensure that the disease does not cross into the country.

WHO has declared Zika, which is carried by mosquitoes and has been linked to thousands of babies being born with underdeveloped brains, a global public health emergency.

Deputy Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the ministry has strengthened the countrywide indoor residual spraying to eliminate the mosquitoes, which are carriers of the Zika virus, according to state broadcaster, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation.

The ministry will also strengthen the surveillance system countrywide to raise the index of suspicion among health workers in the country, he added.

The official however said the country has currently no evidence of active Zika virus, adding that the ministry will concentrate on measures to ensure that the disease does not cross into the country.

Article Source: Global Times

Countries and territories reporting local transmission of Zika virus now number 33, with 6 more showing indication of such transmission and 7 experiencing a parallel rise in cases of microcephaly (small heads in infants) or the neurologic condition called Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS), the World Health Organization (WHO) said in an update today

And the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a Zika virus epidemiologic update that noted imported cases to France and New Zealand involving neurologic complications. The public health emergency declared by the WHO on Feb 1 focused on the potential link of microcephaly and GBS to Zika infection.

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Article Source: CIDRAP

Image Source: CDC