Our response to COVID-19
Latest update: 17th March, 13:53 GMT
The COVID-19 virus and the global response to it has impacted our ability to deliver all programs in all locations. The situation is fluid and we expect any temporary program suspensions to be short term, and in the mid to long term to be operating all programs as planned. We are contacting incoming participants prior to their start dates to inform them of the current situation and if necessary, working with them to make contingency plans.
Where possible and where requested by local partners, and under the guidance of local and international health advice, GVI’s locations and programs continue to operate and make an impact. We continue to keep the health and safety of our participants, staff and community members at the forefront of all of our decisions. Should we find that the risk severity increases, we will take further action and notify our participants.
What is GVI doing?
GVI continues to closely monitor the virus COVID-19 (formerly known as novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV) and follow updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UK, US and Australian government travel advice, and local government health advice from our operational locations.
Many international airports have now implemented their own screening for arriving passengers, many with a focus upon passengers arriving from countries that have high rates of infection.
Additionally, to further safeguard our participants and community members, GVI is conducting ongoing monitoring of participants in line with UK government advice, monitoring and implementing host national government medical advice, and have emergency action plans in place to safeguard all of our participants arriving and already on base in all locations. Additionally, information regarding the virus, including preventative measures and signs and symptoms of the virus are both being discussed with participants and shared on base.
Booked and enquiring participants
What do you need to do?
Please purchase travel insurance to cover you for all eventualities that may arise during your time with us. GVI has a partnership with CISI Insurance to offer coverage for any necessary medical treatment in country. Please contact your Support Coordinator to get a quote. You may also wish to take out additional cancellation insurance to cover you in the event you are unable to travel.
Prior to travel please be sure to contact your local embassy for the country you will be visiting in order to receive updated travel information. With updates changing multiple times daily, we encourage participants to receive the most up to date information from embassies directly. Due to the frequent updates for both countries of origin and destination, GVI is unable to provide updated travel advice relevant to each participant. The most correct information can be supplied by your local embassy.
We are very aware the media and social media have reported a vast amount of false information and so it is vital that you only follow official advice supplied by the embassy in your area.
When should you expect another update from us?
GVI is sending out additional information to our participants at the time of travel to advise them of any location specific advice and any activity changes. As it is an evolving situation, we are only providing this information at the time of travel to ensure the information you receive is the most accurate and up-to-date.
Can I change the location or start date of my program?
Yes. From now until the 31st December 2020, if you have booked onto a GVI program, and you would like to transfer before your program start date, we are offering free transfers to any date or location. All transfers are subject to availability.
When will I be notified if GVI cancels my program?
We are monitoring the situation and in the event we are unable to run your program, you will be notified as soon as possible by phone or email and offered a free transfer to another start date or destination. Please refer to our terms and conditions for our cancellation policies.
Unfortunately, as the situation is ever changing, we are unable to provide you with a specific date when you will be notified of cancellation, or guarantee your program will run. If you do not hear from us, please note your program is running as planned.
What happens if I get turned away upon arrival?
Your airline should have the most up-to-date information for entry requirements for your destination. They should alert you if they expect any issues on arrival before you board your flight. In the event this does not happen, and you are barred entry by immigration officials upon arrival, immigration will likely place you on the next available flight. Contact your GVI Program Manager in country or contact us on our 24-hour emergency line for emergency support.
Please ensure you check your travel insurance provider to ensure they will cover any costs for getting you back home and reimburse your program fee.
What happens if I get quarantined on arrival?
In the event you are advised to quarantine upon arrival, contact your GVI Program Manager in country or contact us on our 24-hour emergency line for emergency support. We will advise you of an appropriate place to quarantine at a nearby local hotel or bed and breakfast where we can support you.
GVI will do its utmost to assist you with transferring your start date to allow you to participate on your program. However, please note this is subject to availability.
What happens if GVI cancels my program?
In the event that GVI must cancel a program, our first recourse will be to offer you a free transfer to another start date or destination. Please refer to our terms and conditions for additional information.
When will I be notified if GVI cancels my program?
GVI has no plans to cancel any of our programs. In the event we are unable to run your program, you will be notified as soon as possible by phone or email and offered a free transfer to another start date or destination. Please refer to our terms and conditions for additional information. Unfortunately, as the situation is ever changing, we are unable to provide you with a specific date when you will be notified of cancellation, or guarantee your program will run.
What happens if I’m on my project and the country shuts its borders?
GVI is continually monitoring travel restrictions both into and out of the countries where we operate. Should you be on your project and restricted to leave by the local government, GVI will continue to provide food, accommodation and back up programs (where possible).
GVI receives updates from the FCO, the US and Australian State Departments and will keep participants and their emergency contacts up-to-date while you are on project. Please don’t hesitate to contact your GVI Program Manager in country or contact us on our 24-hour emergency line for support.
Please ensure you have the contact details of your home country’s consulate in the country you are travelling (e.g. The British High Commission in South Africa) and register with them or sign up for updates if available. If you are a US Citizen, you can simply enroll in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program (STEP): https://step.state.gov/
What support will GVI provide if I’m unable to get home?
GVI will assist with arranging food and accommodation in the event you are unable to get home due to flight cancellations or other restrictions. Our staff will still be available in country, as well as Central Support via telephone to help with any questions.
What happens if my flight gets cancelled?
In the event your flight is cancelled, and you are unable to get a new flight to your program, GVI will assist with transferring you to another date or location free of charge.
What happens if I, or another participant, contracts coronavirus?
GVI has an Emergency Action Plan for each of our locations to handle any suspected instances of COVID-19. Alongside advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the UK, US and Australian Governments as well as local health authorities, we have identified best practice methods to reduce the chance of infection and transmission, including screening, preventative hygiene and sanitation procedures and initial isolation areas for any cases of potential concern all our bases.
For any cases where the patient shows specific symptoms of COVID-19, while in temporary isolation, GVI will contact the local health authorities and act on their advice. Should the patient be confirmed with COVID-19 and/ or need continued self-isolation, they will be placed on a seperate part of the base or off-site, depending on each hub.
While isolation can be perceived as scary, the reality is that the patient will be assigned a GVI caregiver who will ensure they have everything they need during this period, including food, accomodation and emotional support.
To prevent the transmission of the virus to other participants, a number of procedures will be put in place in addition to isolation, including the GVI caregiver wearing protective clothing and best practice hygiene and sanitation of the base and isolated accommodation. Please ensure your travel insurance will cover any necessary medical care you may need while in country.