Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Burundi extend international flight suspension at Melchior Ndadaye Airport (BJM) indefinitely as of April 19, due to COVID-19.

This alert affects Burundi

This alert began 19 Apr 2020 01:24 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Commercial flight and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Burundi have extended the suspension of international passenger flights at Melchior Ndadaye Airport (BJM) indefinitely, as of April 19, to stem the spread of COVID-19. Cargo and humanitarian flights will be allowed to continue.

Officials earlier suspended visa issuance to all foreign nationals March 19; travelers already in Burundi may have their visas renewed. Travelers from countries with a high incidence of COVID-19 will undergo a 14-day quarantine in a local health facility. Authorities in Burundi also closed the nation's land border with Rwanda starting March 15 and are denying citizens of all countries traveling through northern Rwanda crossing, Ruhwa border post, into Burundi. Enhanced screening measures are in place at all other ports of entry. Further measures are likely in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Numerous countries have adopted several restrictions to halt the spread of COVID-19. Countries which neighbor Burundi have also closed borders and restricted flights to halt the spread of the disease in recent days. The viral respiratory disease is 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. The WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

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. 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 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

Ministry of Public Health: http://minisante.bi/