Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in DRC extend state of health emergency through July 21 as part of efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 07 Jul 2020 09:35 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 21 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions; increased security

Summary
Authorities in the DRC have extended the nationwide state of health emergency through July 21, in an effort to contain coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is the sixth time authorities have extended the state of health emergency. Restrictions implemented April 6 will remain in place for the duration of the extension, including the closure of borders and the suspension of international travel. Other nationwide restrictions include:

 

  • Humanitarian and freight transport is able to continue under heightened screening measures.

 

  • Movement restrictions between Kinshasa and other provinces are in effect; all domestic flights, as well as road and river transport between Kinshasa and other provinces, have been indefinitely suspended for passenger traffic. Officials will continue to allow commercial and freight transport under heightened screening measures.

 

  • Authorities have banned large public gatherings, with events limited to 20 people. Nonessential stores and stalls, bars, and restaurants are to remain closed until further notice.

 

  • The wearing of protective face masks is mandatory in public.

 


Officials will continue to administer fines for persons violating lockdown regulations. Security forces have been deployed to ensure compliance and may use force. Additional restrictions and further extensions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the DRC are possible in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent months in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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
Reconfirm all planned travel arrangements. Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Consider delaying travel 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.

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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