Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: El Salvador tightens movement restrictions nationwide May 7-21 to curb spread of COVID-19. Other restrictions still in place.

This alert affects El Salvador

This alert began 07 May 2020 10:31 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 21
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in El Salvador will enforce enhanced movement restrictions nationwide May 7-21. These new measures are in addition to the existing mandatory nationwide quarantine, which is being enforced through at least May 16 as part of the government's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The 24-hour quarantine allows residents to leave their homes only to obtain basic goods, to care for a person in need, to attend a medical issue, or to go to work at an essential business or service. However, as of May 7, only one person per household will be allowed to purchase basic goods according to the last digit of their Unique Identity Document (DUI) or passport, as follows:

  • Last digit is 0, 1, or 2: Permitted days are May 7, 11, 15, and 17.
  • Last digit is 3 or 4: Permitted days are May 8, 12, 16, and 19.
  • Last digit is 5 or 6: Permitted days are May 9, 13, 17, and 21.
  • Last digit is 7, 8, or 9: Permitted days are May 10, 14, 18, and 20.


Private movement is only permitted within the municipality of an individual's residence. Public transportation and taxi services are also suspended during this period. Other existing measures remain in place. Persons 60 years of age or older, pregnant women, and people with health difficulties must remain in self-quarantine. If authorities find a person breaking the measures, they can screen the person's health and place them in a 30-day quarantine. If someone is driving a vehicle without authorization, authorities may confiscate the vehicle. Health officials will have the right to enter a person's home or business to asses health conditions and preventative measures to combat COVID-19.

Among the essential businesses and services that can remain open are those related to food production, distribution, and sales; utilities such as water and electricity; pharmacies and drug companies; banks; and companies whose products are necessary for the health emergency. Law enforcement agents and media personnel, as well as essential government workers, can also continue working. Restaurants can operate exclusively via delivery and carry-out service. All essential workers must carry proper identification on the streets, and any person must wear a protective facemask outside of their home.

Officials continue to enforce the closure of all ports of entry to nonresident foreign nationals. Only Salvadorans, legal foreign residents, and accredited diplomats are permitted to enter the country. Any person entering the country will be screened by health officials to determine if they must remain in self-quarantine. El Salvador International Airport (SAL) has suspended passenger flights. Air and land cargo transportation and humanitarian flights and vessels are not affected by the restrictions.

The restrictions will continue to have a significant impact on business and transport in the country. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government of El Salvador correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. On April 30, El Salvador's Congress approved the extension of the state of emergency through at least May 16 in response to the disease outbreak. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

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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