Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Benin enact new measures to support air travel restrictions July 13. Other restrictions remain in place indefinitely.

  • Alert Begins: 22 Jul 2020 12:42 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 30 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Severe travel and commercial disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Benin have implemented further measures to support air travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under measures announced July 13, commercial air travelers arriving in Benin will be subject to three tests at personal expense. Travelers will also have to relinquish their passports on arrival. Passports will be returned after travelers complete 15 days of isolation and a negative COVID-19 test. For travelers in Benin for less than 15 days, special requests regarding the traveler's passport made to the Minister of Health must be submitted at the point of entry. Travelers who test positive for the disease and are displaying symptoms will be treated at a government facility. Asymptomatic carriers of the disease can self-isolate at a private location of the traveler's choice. Ground and maritime travel in and out of Benin remains heavily restricted and travelers face similar measures. Travel across overland borders is limited to essential, approved movement and freight.

Other restrictions and social distancing measures remain in place indefinitely. Local public transport services must adhere to social distancing measures; all residents must wear protective masks and keep at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart. Groups comprising more than 50 people remain banned.

The Council of Ministers in Benin have eased some restrictions in the past, allowing places of worship, public transport services, and bars to resume as long as sanitary precautions are observed. Education and academic activities resumed May 11.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government have evolved in recent weeks as authorities assess the impact of COVID-19 across the country. The resumption of education activities could point to possible recovery in the country. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV2-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.

Advice
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.

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.


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