Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Cote d'Ivoire lift COVID-19 curfew in Greater Abidjan from May 15. Other restrictions to remain in place through May 31.

This alert affects Cote d'Ivoire

This alert began 14 May 2020 15:52 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 31
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions; possible health screenings, shipping delays, protests

Summary
Authorities in Cote d'Ivoire have announced the lifting of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related nightly curfew in the Greater Abidjan region (Abidjan, Dabou, Azaguie, Bingerville, Grand-Bassam, Bonoua, Assinie, and up to PK30 on the Abidjan-Yamoussoukro motorway) from May 15. Restaurants and local canteens will also be allowed to resume operations from this date. Limits placed on large gatherings have been eased, with groups of up to 200 people allowed as long social distancing measures are in place.

Other restrictions, including the closure of bars and places of entertainment, will remain in place until May 31. Schools in the region will resume from May 25. The status of travel between Greater Abidjan and the rest of the country is currently unclear, but further announcements are likely in the coming days. A nationwide state of emergency, which includes the suspension of flights, the closure of land borders, and the restriction of overland and maritime travel, remains 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 all restrictions that remain in place. 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, in 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 across the country. 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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