Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities extend restrictions across urban centers in Benin through April 27 to halt spread of COVID-19. Severe disruptions likely.

This alert affects Benin

This alert began 17 Apr 2020 09:56 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 27
  • Impact: Severe travel and commercial disruptions

Summary
Authorities have extended restrictions and social distancing measures through at least April 27 as part of efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Measures include restricted travel in the municipalities of Cotonou, Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Ouidah, Tori-Bossito, Kpomasse, Toffo, Ze, So-Ava, Aguegues, Seme-Podji, Porto-Novo, Akpro-Misserete, Adjara, and Atchoukpa. Travel in these areas will be allowed only for essential movement. These measures will complement other restrictions, including heavily restricted travel via land borders and the quarantine of persons suspected of being infected with COVID-19. Further restrictive measures are likely in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government have escalated in recent days as the numbers of infected persons have increased in Benin. 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.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Official Government Portal (French): www.gouv.bj/coronavirus/