Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Algeria close all entrances to Algiers from July 26 due to COVID-19 activity. Other restrictions remain in effect.

  • Alert Begins: 26 Jul 2020 07:51 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions; heightened security

Authorities in Algeria announced July 26 that all entrances to the city of Algiers have been closed as part of the country’s efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The closure does not apply to individuals with exceptional travel permits. It is unclear how long the measure will remain in effect.

Additionally, a nightly 2000-0500 curfew remains in force in 29 provinces, including Algiers, Constantine, Blida, Oran, and Bejaia, through at least July 28. A 1700-0500 curfew is in effect in eight of Djelfa Province's municipalities through at least July 29.

Aside from the localized curfews and movement restrictions, a number of other COVID-related directives remain in place nationwide. Residents must wear protective face coverings when in public, including in vehicles. Social distancing guidelines require that individual stay at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart when interacting with each other. All public and private schools and universities are closed. Land, air, and sea passenger connections remain suspended until further notice, although freight transport is operating normally.

Nevertheless, Algeria is still pursuing the first phase of the government's COVID-19 recovery plan and is gradually easing restrictions based on disease activity. A number of businesses and services have been allowed to reopen since early June, including construction companies, real estate agencies, travel agencies, fruit markets, bakeries, hair salons, car rental companies, and government institutions. Public transport has resumed operation in all of the nation's 48 provinces; taxi and app-based ride-sharing services have also begun operating again, albeit under certain capacity limitations. Restaurants have also reopened in provinces where officials have lifted lockdown measures.

The government has tasked the nation's various police departments with enforcing the COVID-related measures; violators could face fines or other criminal or administrative penalties. Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Algeria's preventive measures are similar to actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, 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.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all business appointments and 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. 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 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.

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