Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities maintaining international and domestic restrictions in Benin as of Sept. 16 due to COVID-19 activity.
Alert Begins 16 Sep 2020 12:39 PM UTC
Alert Expires 30 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Severe travel and commercial disruptions
Authorities in Benin are maintaining several restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Sept. 16. Measures currently in place include:
Ground and maritime travel in and out of Benin remains heavily restricted. Overground travel is limited to approved cases of extreme necessity and in coordination with neighboring countries. The land border with Togo remains closed. Maritime and overground freight can continue.
Air borders have been reopened and a reduced number international flights are ongoing. Under measures announced July 13, commercial air travelers arriving in Benin will be subject to up three tests at personal expense. At least two of these tests will be taken upon arrival at Cotonou Cadjehoun Airport (COO). Travelers will also have to relinquish their passports on arrival. Passports will be returned after travelers who test positive complete 15 days of isolation and a follow-up negative COVID-19 test. Travelers who test negative can collect passports from the Palais des Congres 72 hours after arrival.
For people visiting 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 will be in Benin for less than three days will not be required to take a follow-up test. Travelers who test positive for the disease and who 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.
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 facemasks and keep at least 1 meter (3 feet) apart. Gatherings comprising more than 50 people remain banned.
The Council of Ministers in Benin previously eased some restrictions, 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.
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.