Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Bolivia to enforce stricter COVID-19 restrictions in La Paz Department July 16-19; restrictions elsewhere remain unchanged.

  • Alert Begins: 16 Jul 2020 12:19 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 20 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and commercial disruptions, increased police presence

Authorities in Bolivia announced that La Paz Department, including in La Paz city and El Alto, will be under a total lockdown July 16-19 due to a spike in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity. Only critical services and home food deliveries will be permitted. Individuals may not leave their homes except for medical emergencies. The following restrictions are in place in La Paz as of July 16:


  • All commercial activity is suspended; this includes the closure of markets and supermarkets.


  • Public transportation is suspended.


  • Pedestrians and drivers of private vehicles and bicycles will not be permitted on roads.


Nationwide Restrictions
Nationwide restrictions elsewhere are unchanged and will remain in place through at least July 31. Companies that produce or sell basic goods such as food, fuel, medicine, or hygiene products are continuing to operate. The industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, and forestry sectors have also been authorized to resume operations. All persons must remain in their homes 1800-0500 Mondays-Fridays. Residents may not leave their homes on Saturdays and Sundays, except to engage in outdoor exercise such as walking or cycling, which may occur 0600-1400 as long as all persons remain within 500 meters of their homes. Public events are canceled, and all schools must remain closed.

Authorities are also maintaining a regional three-tiered system of restrictions, implemented May 11, under which the Ministry of Health will classify each of Bolivia's 339 municipalities as being at high, medium, or reduced risk of COVID-19 contagion. Local authorities will use these classifications to make decisions about reopening, business operating hours, and social distancing and other measures that they must adopt. Municipalities' risk ratings could change at any time, depending on local disease activity.

International travel restrictions are also still in place. All ports of entry are closed to nonresident foreign travelers; however, citizens and legal residents may return. All incoming international passenger flights remain suspended. Cargo transportation, however, is allowed. All measures are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Bolivian government are similar to actions adopted by other governments globally in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) March 11. Several governments have begun implementing recovery plans to lift restrictive measures introduced in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. Despite restrictions being lifted in parts of Bolivia, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied or tightened if the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increases. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

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. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

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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