Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Djibouti extend COVID-19 restrictions indefinitely as of May 16. Continued travel and business disruptions likely.

This alert affects Djibouti

This alert began 18 May 2020 10:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions, increased security

Summary
On May 16, authorities in Djibouti extended restrictions indefinitely to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This action follows local reports of a significant increase in case numbers. Restrictions implemented under the initial lockdown period, from March 23, will remain in place. These include:

  • All land, sea, and air borders remain closed. Cargo and humanitarian flights will be allowed to continue.
  • Nonessential businesses remain closed. This excludes supermarkets, groceries, pharmacies, banks, petrol stations, and other food distributors.
  • The wearing of protective face masks in public is mandatory.
  • Closures are enforced for all schools, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, mosques, and other places of worship.
  • Limitations are in place on the number of passengers on buses and other forms of public transport.
  • All residents are required to stay at home, except to obtain essential food items or to seek medical treatment.


Plans for an incremental easing of restrictions, meant to be implemented from May 17, have been postponed for a second time due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Officials had scheduled some shops and public transport to reopen, with places of worship reopening shortly after. Authorities will release a revised timeline of when these services are permitted to operate in the coming days.

Security personnel remain deployed to enforce restrictions. Officials may implement additional travel restrictions or health security measures with little notice.

Background and Analysis
As of May 17, Djibouti has conducted approximately 17,532 COVID-19 tests, with 1,401 cases confirmed, 972 cases recovered, and four deaths. The COVID-19 measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments. 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.

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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