Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Authorities in the DRC lifts health state of emergency and orders reopening of economy in three phases.
- Alert Begins: 23 Jul 2020 02:16 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 31 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Travel and business disruptions, increased security
Officials in the DRC have lifted the health state of emergency related to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of July 22. Authorities have also announced the reopening of the country's economy, schools, and borders in three phases. All shops, banks, restaurants, bars, and public transports can resume operations as of July 22. Authorities have also begun allowing large gatherings. Schools and universities will be permitted to reopen from Aug. 3, while airports, ports, borders, and places of worship can do so from Aug. 15.
Restrictions that will remain in effect include:
- Humanitarian and freight transport can continue under heightened screening measures.
- Borders remain closed, and the suspension of international travel remains in place through at least Aug. 15.
- 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 suspended for passenger traffic. Officials will continue to allow commercial and freight transport under heightened screening measures.
- 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.
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.
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.