Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Djibouti postpone easing of COVID-19 restrictions and extend measures until May 17 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Djibouti

This alert began 11 May 2020 11:50 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Period: Through at least May 17
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

Summary
Authorities in Djibouti have extended travel and business confinement measures to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through at least May 17, after initial plans to implement incremental easing were postponed due to the increasing number of cases in the country. 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.
  • 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.


From May 17, authorities plan to introduce an incremental easing of lockdown restrictions. Some shops and public transport are scheduled to reopen. Places of worship will also reportedly reopen on May 23, providing adherence to mandatory wearing of face masks and social distancing measures. Restaurants and bars will reopen on June 15. Further information on the easing of restrictions will be released in the coming days.

Security personnel are deployed to enforce restrictions. Additional travel restrictions or health security measures may be implemented with little notice.

Background and Analysis
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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