S Korea Mers outbreak: Allow customers to change travel plans

S Korea Mers outbreak: Allow customers to change travel plans
Passengers wearing masks to prevent contracting Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) walk past a thermal imaging camera at Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea.

While about 1,300 people from Taiwan and another 300 from China have cancelled their trips to South Korea, given the outbreak of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) there ("S. Korea Mers outbreak spreads: 25 cases, 2 dead"; yesterday), in Singapore, there is reportedly only some concern and no cancellations ("Some concerns, no cancellations"; yesterday).

One possible reason for there being no cancellations from Singapore travellers is the penalty travel agencies charge for the cancellation of packages at such a late hour.

Travellers could be in a dilemma about cancelling their trips and forfeiting the money they have paid to travel agencies.

Perhaps, travel firms could allow customers to postpone their trips or change their travel destinations, should they wish to avoid South Korea at this time.

This would reduce the risk of importing Mers into Singapore.

We need to be vigilant and remember lessons from our experience with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) crisis more than 10 years ago.

Lim Poh Seng

 


This article was first published on June 04, 2015.
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