Government reassures travellers that the Marburg virus is not a risk within Zanzibar archipelago
The Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar has issued a statement to assure the international community and relevant stakeholders that the semi-autonomous islands of Zanzibar remain open for business and are ready to welcome travellers from around the world.
The statement read: "As we head towards the ‘Green Season’, the Zanzibar archipelago has yet to record a single case of the Marburg virus first detected in March 2023, in the north-west Kagera region of mainland Tanzania.
"Since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions, the archipelago has seen an influx of visitors from the US and Middle East as well as those from its core European markets. It is anticipated this trend will continue in the coming months and throughout summer.
"While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended travellers avoid contact with sick individuals and monitor any potential symptoms, it has not advised against travelling to Tanzania and Zanzibar."
The islands of Zanzibar are located in the Indian Ocean, separated by more than1,500km of ocean and land between the islands and the Kagera region on the mainland.
Tourism minister Simai M Said insisted: “While the United Republic of Tanzania and the Revolutionary Government of Zanzibar are monitoring the situation closely, there is absolutely no cause for alarm. Given that Covid-19 is still fresh in our minds, we understand that people are cautious when learning of new infections. However, such fears are often unfounded, such is the case now. Tanzania is adhering to the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards and people have no reason to worry.
“Members of the international business community and those visiting our beautiful region and islands can rest assured that it is very much business as usual, and their health is in no way at risk from this virus. In the next few weeks Tanzania should be free from the virus.”
Findings by the United Republic of Tanzania’s Ministry of Health in collaboration with WHO show that as of the 4 April 2023, the total number of remaining Marburg virus cases in the Kagera region was three, of which only two remain in isolation after one person was discharged on the 5 April 2023.
“This is further evidence that the spread of the virus has been halted. As we prepare to welcome our annual influx of visitors from the Northern Hemisphere and the Middle East, they can be safe in the knowledge that the virus is contained and presents no threat to them or the citizens of Zanzibar,” said Minister Said.
Meanwhile, The United Republic of Tanzania has deployed rapid response teams for the purposes of contact tracing and monitoring risk communication activities, measures that are proving highly successful with limiting the spread of the virus in the Kagera region.
Zanzibar is set for a bumper tourist season, with the country already welcoming 65,430 international visitors in February – an increase of 39.2% on the 46,995 visitors recorded in February 2022.