Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Eritrea extend a nationwide stay-at-home order starting from April 22 due to COVID-19 activity. Other restrictions continue.

This alert affects Eritrea

This alert began 22 Apr 2020 17:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 22 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

Summary
Authorities in Eritrea have extended a nationwide stay-at-home order indefinitely from April 22 as part of the nation's effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The extended stay-at-home measures require all residents to remain in their homes, except to obtain essential food items or to seek medical treatment. Only two members of a household may exit the home at any one time per day. Essential food production, supply, and processing enterprises, as well as grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks, will continue to operate but must close by 2000 daily.

The new extended order is in addition to a set of earlier imposed measures, which include:

  • The closure of all borders, schools, and universities;
  • Prohibition of nonessential trading activities and transactions;
  • Suspension of nonessential government institutions;
  • The banning of private vehicles;
  • The cancellation of all sporting events and other gatherings;
  • The closure of bars and restaurants until further notice.


Security authorities, including police and neighborhood watch groups, will assist in enforcing the order. Additional restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Eritrea are possible in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Eritrean authorities are similar to those taken by other governments globally in recent weeks 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. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

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.

Resources
Eritrea Ministry of Information (text of decree): shabait.com

World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Embassy of US in Asmara: https://er.usembassy.gov