Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Alaska, US, extend orders requiring residents to stay at home, and restricting internal travel until at least April 21.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Anchorage, Alaska
  • Fairbanks, Alaska
  • Juneau, Alaska
  • Sitka, Alaska
  • Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Prudhoe Bay-Deadhorse, Alaska
  • Barrow, Alaska
  • Norton Sound
  • Valdez, Alaska
  • Kenai-Nikiski, Alaska
  • Kotzebue, Alaska
  • Kodiak, Alaska
  • Unalaska (Dutch Harbor), Alaska
  • Bethel, Alaska
  • Adak, Alaska
  • Nome, Alaska
  • Petersburg, Alaska
  • Wrangell, Alaska
  • Yakutat, Alaska

This alert began 10 Apr 2020 12:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Alaska (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 21
  • Impact: Travel and movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Alaska Governor Michael Dunleavy extended orders requiring residents to stay at home except to perform essential tasks, nonessential businesses to close, and restricting travel, through at least April 21, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The orders, which were originally due to expire April 11, allow residents to leave their homes to obtain basic goods, to attend to a medical issue, to care for a person in need, or to perform outdoor recreational activities while maintaining a proper distance from others and without gathering. People working in essential businesses and services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and those related to security, infrastructure, transport, and government services, may also leave their homes. In-person classes in all private and public schools in the state have been canceled until the end of the school year.

Authorities also extended restrictions to intrastate travel until April 21. Residents are not allowed to travel between communities, unless they are providing or obtaining essential services, such as buying, selling, or delivering basic goods, or to provide or receive medical attention. All travelers entering the state of Alaska, even if they are residents, must self-quarantine for 14 days from the moment of their arrival, until at least April 21. People working in essential services are exempted from this order.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Alaska authorities are similar to actions adopted by other state governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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 World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

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.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

State of Alaska - COVID-19 Updates: https://gov.alaska.gov

Governor of Alaska - COVID-19 Restrictions: https://gov.alaska.gov