Dubai-based carrier Emirates has offered refund to passengers who have bought tickets to travel to Zika-hit countries, an airline spokesperson said.
“Special provisions have been put in place for customers advised to avoid the affected regions based on CDC [the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance. Customers holding a ticket issued on or before January 29, 2016, for travel up to April 30, 2016, may choose to rebook to an alternate destination in the Americas not affected by the virus, or refund their travel to destinations reported to be affected by the Zika virus,” the carrier said in a statement to Emirates 24l7.
The World Health Organisation on Monday declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus an international public health emergency due to its link to thousands of birth defects in Brazil, as the UN agency sought to build a global response to the threat. As the virus spreads from Brazil, other countries in the Americas are also likely to see cases of babies with Zika-linked birth defects.
On Monday, the CDC added four more countries and territories to a growing list of places where travellers risk being infected with Zika.
Emirates said it is closely monitoring developments around the Zika virus.
“At this time, there is no impact on operations to our three gateways in South America (Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires)… Customers are advised to contact the Emirates Contact Centre at 600 555 555 for more information," the spokesperson said.
According to CDC, countries affected by Zika are Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, US Virgin Islands, Venezuela, Samoa and Cape Verde.