Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Cote d'Ivoire ease COVID-19 measures nationwide May 8. Strict restrictions remain in place in Greater Abidjan till May 15.

This alert affects Cote d'Ivoire

This alert began 11 May 2020 14:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 15
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions; possible health screenings, shipping delays, protests

Summary
Authorities in Cote d'Ivoire eased restrictions in all areas of Cote d'Ivoire except for Greater Abidjan (Abidjan, Dabou, Azaguie, Bingerville, Grand-Bassam, Bonoua, Assinie, and up to PK30 on the Abidjan-Yamoussoukro motorway), May 8. Restrictions in the capital and environs will remain in place until at least May 15 when conditions will be reviewed. A nightly curfew originally in place as part of the state of emergency has been lifted in the interior of the country. Group restrictions have also been expanded to 200 people, and schools have been reopened. Bars, clubs, and other areas of social gathering can also resume service. Authorities will monitor measures for deterioration, and further restrictions could be implemented if the number of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases increase.

In the Greater Abidjan region, all restrictions will be maintained through May 15, although nightly curfew hours have been adjusted from 2100-0500 to 2300-0400. Social gatherings remain restricted to 50 people. The use of face masks remains compulsory. Travel between Greater Abidjan and the rest of the country remains banned with increased security measures to be introduced. Restrictions in Greater Abidjan could be eased from May 15 if conditions improve.

A nationwide state of emergency measure, including the suspension of flights, the closure of land borders, and the restriction of overland and maritime travel, remain in place. Additional measures are possible in the coming weeks as the government takes action to curb the spread of COVID-19. Security forces will almost certainly remain deployed to monitor and enforce restrictions in Greater Abidjan. Acts of public violence in response to the restrictions and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic are possible. Protesters destroyed a medical facility in Yopougon, Abidjan, early April. Authorities had planned to use the building as a collection station for testing for COVID-19. Security forces will almost certainly disperse any protests that materialize.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government follow an improvement in the health situation outside of the Greater Abidjan region. The government has stated that it retains the right to reinstate measures if cases of COVID-19 increase in the coming days. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease 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. 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. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Exercise caution near medical facilities. Avoid all demonstrations.

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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