Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Algeria revise COVID-19 restrictions as of Sept. 1. Land, sea, and air borders remain closed.

Alert Begins 01 Sep 2020 04:04 AM UTC
Alert Expires 15 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions; heightened security

Authorities in Algeria have revised restrictions related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Sept. 1. Officials have lifted partial lockdown measures in 19 provinces. Libraries and nurseries are allowed to reopen, provided that they operate at 50 percent capacity. Authorities also extended the 2300-0600 nightly curfew in 18 provinces, of which 10, including Tipaza, Blida, and Oran, which will continue to be under partial restrictions. The remaining eight provinces, including Tebessa, Illizi, and Ain Defla, will be under full confinement through Sept. 30 due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Officials continue to require returning Algerian nationals to quarantine for seven days. Since early June, several businesses and services have been allowed to reopen, 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. However, a ban on public and private vehicle traffic between provinces will remain in place on weekends. Restaurants have also reopened in provinces where officials have lifted lockdown measures.

Nevertheless, certain COVID-related restrictions remain in place. With the exception of the government's repatriation program, land, air, and sea passenger connections are suspended until further notice; freight transport is operating normally, however. Residents must wear protective face coverings when in public, including in vehicles. Social distancing guidelines require that individuals stay at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart when interacting with each other. All public and private schools and universities are closed.

The government has tasked the nation's various police departments with enforcing the measures that remain in force; 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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