Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in eastern Libya reopen land, sea, and air borders as of Sept. 1. Travelers required to submit negative test for COVID-19.

Alert Begins 01 Sep 2020 03:33 PM UTC
Alert Expires 01 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business restrictions

Summary
The government in eastern Libya, led by the Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has reopened land, air, and sea borders as of Sept. 1. Travelers to Benghazi and other areas in eastern Libya under the LNA are required to provide a negative test of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) before they are allowed entry; the PCR test must be less than 48 hours.

Libya's Tripoli-based internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) imposed a complete four-day lockdown in the capital city, Aug. 26, due to a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Further similar measures will likely be imposed in the coming days and weeks. Authorities have also ordered the closure of stores, except those that provide essential goods and services. Following the four-day lockdown, officials will continue to impose a daily 2100-0600 curfew, with a 24-hour curfew still in effect on Fridays and Saturdays. Individuals and businesses that violate the edict may face fines.

Travel between cities in western Libya, the use of public transportation, social gatherings, and the operation of nonessential businesses remain prohibited until further notice. Businesses supplying essential goods and services remain operational.

The GNA resumed flights at Mitiga International Airport (MJI) beginning Aug. 9. Select commercial flights have been operating between Istanbul and MJI since the reopening of the airport in early August.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Libya's preventive restrictions are similar to actions other governments are taking globally 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
Follow all official instructions. Abide by health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements, including the status of borders, before travel. 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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