Severity: Warning Alert
Entry/Exit: African countries continue to enforce travel restrictions and conduct health screenings due to COVID-19 as of April 2.
The locations affected by this alert are:
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Cote d'Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sao Tome And Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Eswatini (Swaziland)
- St. Helena
- South Sudan
This alert began 03 Apr 2020 02:14 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Apr 2020 00:40 GMT.
- Incident: Travel restrictions and health screenings
- Location(s): Africa (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Significant travel, transport, and business disruptions
African governments have intensified travel restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A majority of countries have implemented heightened screening measures at border points and port of entries, with other specific measures varying by country. The following procedures are in effect as of March 27:
- Angola: All international flights remain suspended from March 20. Land borders also remain closed, and authorities have been preventing passenger ships from disembarking passengers and crews since March 20. Cargo ships will still be able to operate. Officials will review orders every 15 days.
- Benin: Authorities have implemented lockdown and social distancing measures that will come into effect March 30 as part of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Measures include restricted travel in the municipalities of Cotonou, Porto-Novo, Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Ouidah, Seme Podji, Akpro Misserete, and Adjara. Travel in these areas will be allowed only for essential purposes.
- Botswana: Nationwide lockdown is in effect through April 30; individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strictly controlled circumstances. Exceptions for essential services personnel. Commercial international passenger flights remain suspended, the country's land borders remain closed to passenger traffic, except for returning nationals and residents.
- Burundi: Officials implemented additional screening at all entry points from March 20. Authorities suspended the issuing of visas from March 19. The Burundi government announced March 21, the suspension of all international commercial flights at Melchior Ndadaye International Airport (BJM). Authorities in Burundi announced March 15 closure of the nation's land border with Rwanda until further notice to curb the spread of COVID-19.
- Burkina Faso: Authorities have introduced several measures to curb the spread of the virus, such as quarantine in Ouagadougou, Bobo-Dioulasso, Boromo, Dedougou, Hounde, Banfora, Manga, and Zorgho. Ouagadougou International Airport (OUA), Bobo-Dioulasso Airport (BOY), land borders, and international rail services remain closed for two weeks from March 21. Officials have also implemented an overnight curfew from 1900-0500.
- Cape Verde: The Cape Verdean government has declared a state of emergency nationwide through April 17. Movement will be highly restricted. All nonessential services and businesses will remain closed for this period; there will also be reductions to local transportation services. The island of Boa Vista remains under quarantine, following several infections and fatalities.
- Chad: N'Djamena International Airport (NJD), the country's only international airport, is closed to all passenger travel through April 10. A 14-day nightly curfew for the provinces of Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Mayo-kebbi Ouest, Mayo-kebbi Est, and in the capital N'Djamena. The curfew will run from 1900-0600, and maybe extended beyond April 16.
- Central African Republic: Authorities have announced an entry ban into CAR from locations with local transmission of COVID-19. Exceptions will be made for NGO and diplomatic staff, and CAR citizens. Persons entering CAR from locations with local-transmission of COVID-19 are required to self-isolate for 21 days. Social distancing precautions are in place, including a ban on public gatherings.
- Comoros: All international flights have been suspended until further notice March 23. Ports remain closed to traffic from affected countries. Social distancing measures are in place.
- Cote d'Ivoire: The government of Cote d'Ivoire has implemented a state of emergency. Measures include a nightly curfew from 2100-0500. Authorities have banned all travel to and from Abidjan March 29-April 15, which includes the District of Abidjan, Dabou, Azaguie, Bingerville, Grand-Bassam, Bonoua, Assinie, and up to PK30 on the Abidjan-Yamoussoukro motorway. These measures will complement earlier restrictions, including the suspension of all international travel and closure of all land border crossings. Other social distancing measures are also in place with the closures of bars and entertainment venues. The central government has granted regional governments the authority to enact further local restrictions. Further measures are likely in the coming weeks.
- Djibouti: Authorities have banned all commercial international travel as of March 18. The prohibition does not include cargo flight.
- Democratic Republic of Congo: Authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have imposed updated restrictions as of March 26. All land borders, airports, and maritime ports of entry have been closed to passenger transit. The capital, Kinshasa, will go on rotational lockdown 2359 March 28 through at least 2359 April 18. Movement restrictions between Kinshasa and other provinces are in effect; all domestic flights, as well as road and river transport between Kinshasa and the provinces, have been indefinitely suspended for passenger traffic. Authorities have banned public gatherings.
- Equatorial Guinea: Land and sea border closures are in place plus the indefinite restriction of international flights as a measure to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Authorities are permitting commercial and cargo activity related to the import of food and work materials. Diplomatic missions have stopped issuing visas to Equatorial Guinea. Authorities have restricted residents' movement within the country, except for justified reasons, with a lockdown in place in continental regions. Authorities are requiring residents to wear protective masks when in public.
- Eritrea: Authorities have imposed a 21-day stay-at-home order starting April 2. The country suspended all international commercial passenger flights for two weeks from March 25 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Cargo via land borders and seaports continue to function with tightened screening measures.
- eSwatini: Authorities have enacted a 20-day partial lockdown, which came into effect March 27. Only citizens and residents will be allowed to enter the country's land borders and will then be subject to a 14-day quarantine. Six of 10 land border crossings with South Africa are closed.
- Ethiopia: Public gatherings have been banned, and schools have been closed. All land borders have been closed since March 23. All regional states have suspended all incoming and outgoing public transportation. Tigray state also declared a 15-day state of emergency March 26. City of Bahir-Dar from Amahara state has had a lockdown for 14-day March 31 after one COVID-19 case was found in the city.
- Gabon: Gabonese authorities have introduced several domestic measures to limit the spread of the virus, including the closure of its land borders with Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. All land, air, and sea borders have been closed until further notice, and gatherings of more than 10 people have been banned. Authorities have also imposed a curfew from 1900-0600.
- Gambia: Authorities have suspended the airspace and the airport has been closed, with the exception of medical cargo flights 23 March. The land border with Senegal has also been closed, with the exception of essential supplies and security personnel. Since March 18, schools, universities, public gatherings, and open markets are closed for 21 days.
- Ghana: Ghanaian authorities have closed borders from March 23-April 5. All international flights in and out of the country have been suspended. Lockdown measures have also been introduced for the Accra and Kumasi regions. Further closures and extensions are likely.
- Guinea: The government announced a state of emergency, March 30, and a renewable 30-day state of emergency March 26. Measures include border closures and the suspension of all international travel. The suspension will not affect cargo or humanitarian flights.
- Guinea-Bissau: Authorities in Guinea-Bissau announced the indefinite closure of its land, sea, and air borders, effective March 17, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All inbound international flights have been suspended. The status of outbound international travel is currently unclear. Cargo and humanitarian transport will not be affected. The government has also banned mass gatherings, including local markets and religious services, March 18.
- Kenya: All international flights are suspended from March 25. Mandatory quarantine at government-designated health facilities will be implemented upon arrival for all international flights. Authorities are prohibiting travelers arriving from any country with reported cases of COVID-19 from entering Kenya until April 15. The government ordered an indefinite nationwide curfew from 1900-0500 beginning March 27. Critical and essential service providers, including health workers, are exempt from the curfew. All supermarkets ordered to limit the number of shoppers at every given time to comply with recommended social distancing space.
- Lesotho: Authorities in Lesotho have implemented a nationwide lockdown through at least 2359 April 21. The measure entered into force at 2359 March 30 and imposes various restrictions, including the closure of nonessential businesses and a ban on all gatherings of more than 50 people.
- Liberia: Land borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote d'Ivoire remain closed as of April 2. Flights to and from countries with more than 30 cases have been suspended from March 21. Cargo and humanitarian flights are exempt from these measures. The government of Liberia announced a suspension of all commercial flights for 21 days from March 23-April 14.
- Madagascar: International flights suspended effective March 20. Internal flights are also suspended. Cruise ships are barred from disembarking passengers. These restrictions are set to remain at least through April 20. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice. The Government of Madagascar has also declared a Health State of Emergency. Public transport has been halted and a curfew from 2000-0500 has been established.
- Mali: Authorities have implemented a nightly 2100-0500 curfew as well as banning commercial international flights. Land borders have been closed to passenger travel. Schools and universities have been closed at last through April 9 as part of social distancing measures.
- Malawi: International passenger flights to be suspended from April 1.
- Mauritania: A suspension of international flights remains in place. A nightly curfew enforced from 1800-0600 until further notice has also been enacted. Individuals in contact with possible COVID-19 cases face a 21-day mandatory quarantine.
- Mauritius: A nationwide shutdown and 2000-0800 curfew remain in effect until at least April 15. The shutdown includes the suspension of nonessential businesses and services. Internal islandwide travel restrictions are in place. Air Mauritius has suspended all international commercial inbound and outbound flights until April 30. Authorities in Mauritius have also implemented a ban on travelers into or transiting Mauritius. Officials have banned cruise ships from disembarking in Mauritius. Other social distancing measures are also in place, with school closures also announced. Further restrictions are possible in the coming weeks.
- Mozambique: The government declared a state of emergency effective April 1 imposing nationwide limitations on the movement of persons and goods. Restriction on travelers entering the country at any land, air, or maritime point of entry, with certain exceptions; mandatory quarantine for all persons who have traveled abroad recently or been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case; Ban on public and private activities, including sporting, cultural, religious, or any other events that could draw large numbers of people; closure of entertainment establishments.
- Namibia: A state of emergency was declared March 17. Entry to Namibia remains banned for all foreign nationals for at least 30 days. Ports and land border crossings remain closed to passengers. Authorities require Namibian nationals returning from high-risk countries to self-isolate for 14 days. All commercial flights in and out of Namibia remain suspended since March 26 until further notice. Air Namibia has suspended all operations until April 20. The Khomas and Erongo regions, including Okahandja, Rehoboth, and Windhoek, are under lockdown March 28-April 18. Residents are required to stay at home or risk imprisonment and fines. All essential services will remain active.
- Niger: Authorities have implemented several travel restrictions, including the closure of international airports in Niamey and Zinder for two weeks from 2359 March 18. Cargo, aid, and military flights are exempt. Land borders will remain closed for the same period. Authorities issued state of health emergency nationwide, and a 1900-0600 curfew is in place in the capital, Niamey. Social distancing measures, including a ban on gatherings, religious activities, and education, is in place.
- Nigeria: The Nigerian government closed all land borders to passenger traffic for four weeks effective March 23. The update follows restrictions to air travel following the closure of all international airports March 23. Authorities have also announced a lockdown for Lagos, Abuja, and Ogun State March 30-April 13. State governors have taken similar restrictions. Residents are required to stay at home or risk incarceration and fines. All essential services will remain open. Nigeria had banned the import of goods through its land borders in 2019, so cargo transport is unlikely to be affected by the measure. Further travel restrictions and social distancing measures are likely if the number of infected persons in Nigeria increases.
- Republic of Congo: Congolese authorities declared a public health state of emergency effective March 31, imposing severe containment restrictions across the country as part of the nation's effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Mass gatherings remain banned until further notice. Schools, churches, cinemas, festivals, and open-air restaurants remain closed until further notice. An indefinite 2000-0500 Nighttime curfew is in place.
- Reunion: Nonessential regional and international travel banned from March 20. Travelers from France and Mayotte must undergo a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine. Regional flights to Reunion from Madagascar, Mauritius, and Seychelles remain suspended.
- Rwanda: Authorities in Rwanda placed the nation on lockdown March 22 until at least April 19. All flights to and from Kigali International Airport (KGL) remain suspended March 20. There is a closure of all borders except to citizens and legal residents. Cargo and emergency flights are exempt from the order.
- Sao Tome and Principe: Authorities introduced further methods March 19. Officials have prohibited all foreign travelers from entering the country through April 17. Nationals and foreign residents in the country will be subject to self-isolation on return. Charter flights and cruise ships are also prohibited.
- Senegal: Authorities have suspended international and regional flights from March 20 through April 17. Authorities are quarantining travelers who test positive for COVID-19 in hospitals in Dakar until a negative test result is obtained. As of March 14, all public gatherings remain canceled for 30 days; schools and universities remain closed for three weeks; cruise ships will not be allowed to enter Senegalese waters for 30 days. On March 23, authorities declared a state of emergency, imposing a curfew from 2000-0600, restricting movement between regions, and banning public and private gatherings.
- Seychelles: Authorities have suspended all air travel to curb the spread of the coronavirus (COVId-19) until April 18. Seychelles citizens and legal residents returning to the country will be placed in a 14-day quarantine. No marine vessel will be allowed to enter Seychelles waters if any passenger on board has been to the UK, EU, China, South Korea, or Iran in the last 14 days.
- Sierra Leone: The government has suspended all flights to and from Freetown International Airport until further notice from March 21. Land borders remain shut with a 12-month state of emergency enacted. A three-day lockdown has been imposed by authorities April 5-7.
- Somalia: All international flights remain canceled. Cargo and humanitarian flights are permitted. Any traveler will be subject to self-isolation for days. All travelers arriving at or traveling through Egal International Airport (HGA) will be subject to 14 days hotel quarantine at their own expense. Those who have Hergeisa as their final destination will be refused entry.
- South Africa: Starting March 18, visas were denied to foreign travelers who have visited high-risk countries. Travelers from other countries with a COVID-19 presence will be subject to screening. South African nationals returning from high-risk countries will be subject to self-quarantine. Several land border crossings remain closed since March 16. South African authorities have issued a 21-day lockdown from 0001 March 26-April 16. Residents are required to stay at home or risk imprisonment and fines. All essential services will remain open. Regional and international flights remain suspended until April 16.
- Sudan: Authorities enacted a state of emergency; all land and sea borders remain closed. It is no longer possible to enter Sudan via road or sea. There are currently no commercial international flights in and out of Sudan. A curfew is also in effect from 1800-0600 and the closure of all borders. There are currently no international passenger commercial flights in and out of Sudan. Humanitarian aid and some cargo will be allowed entry. Schools will remain closed through April 15. All public gatherings, such as weddings and social events, are also banned.
- South Sudan: Public gatherings are banned. South Sudan has suspended its issuing of visas at embassies abroad. All international commercial flights remain suspended indefinitely March 24. Authorities have issued a curfew from 2000-0600 every day and restrictions on internal movements.
- Tanzania: Authorities have implemented enhanced screening measures at airports for all passengers arriving at Tanzania's three international airports - Dar es Salaam (DAR), Kilimanjaro (JRO), and Zanzibar (ZNZ). Travelers will need to provide personal details and be subject to a temperature check. Those showing symptoms of coronavirus will be isolated at the airport and may subsequently be placed in quarantine in a government hospital. The government of Tanzania recommends self-isolation for travelers arriving from high-risk countries, even for those without symptoms.
- Togo: Travel restrictions remain in place across Togo. Measures introduced to combat the spread of COVID-19 include the closure of all land borders, social distancing, and lockdown orders in large cities. These measures will support an earlier suspension of flights and a ban on international events. As of April 2, officials have declared a three-month state of emergency to curb the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). A curfew from 1900-0600 remains in effect.
- Uganda: All movement of personal vehicles have been suspended March 31 at 2200 for ten days. All malls, arcades, and non-food shops will remain closed for 14 days from April 1. All airports, as well as land and maritime ports of entry are closed until further notice, except for truck drivers and crew of up to three people. All commuter taxis, buses, passenger trains, and "boda bodas" (motorcycles for hire) were ordered to cease operation for two weeks on March 25.
- Zambia: Ndola (NLA), Livingstone (LVA), and Mfuwe (MFU) airports are closed indefinitely as of March 25. Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka will remain open until further notice. Officials are screening at airports and border crossings, and 14-day mandatory quarantine is in place for persons at high risk of COVID-19. Zambian borders remain open but under tight screening procedures. Many of Zambia's neighboring countries have implemented travel restrictions that may prohibit entry into Zambia.
- Zimbabwe: Authorities announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown March 30 imposing stay-at-home measure, limitations on internal movement, and nonessential business closures. Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to deploy to assist in enforcement. Authorities have suspended all inbound and outbound commercial air travel, and have closed all land borders to incoming passenger traffic by nonresidents indefinitely. Returning Zimbabwean citizens and residents will be allowed to enter the country but will be required to self-quarantine. Cargo and freight shipments will be unaffected.
Background and Analysis
Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have reported imported and transmitted cases of COVID-19. Test results are pending in additional suspected cases, some of which will likely be confirmed. Many countries on the continent will likely struggle to contain and slow the spread of the disease, given poor medical conditions compared to severely affected countries with better medical facilities.
COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int