Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Haiti continue easing internal restrictions as of early July. A 0001-0400 curfew is in effect until at least July 19.

  • Alert Begins: 05 Jul 2020 09:00 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 20 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, increased security; possible protests and clashes

Summary
Authorities in Haiti are continuing to gradually ease restrictions introduced to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), as of early July. The nationwide curfew has been scaled back to 0001-0400 and will remain in place through at least July 19, when the health emergency is due to end. Individuals are still urged to limit themselves to essential movements only outside of curfew hours.

Beginning July 6, all factories will be permitted to reopen; however, other internal measures will remain unchanged. Restrictions on economic activities have been lifted, though all schools, universities, and places of worship are to remain closed during the emergency period. There is an existing ban on all events and meetings of more than 10 people. The mandatory use of a protective facemask in public spaces has been in effect since early May. Local officials could impose their own additional measures or limit inter-municipal or inter-departmental transport, depending on local disease activity.

Authorities reopened the country's borders and allowed the resumption of commercial passenger flights at airports in Port-au-Prince and Cap Haitien June 30. Despite the airport reopening, flight options are likely to remain limited over the coming weeks. Arriving passengers will be subject to advanced health screenings. While Haiti has reopened its land border to passenger traffic, authorities in the Dominican Republic maintain the closure of its borders to travelers. Cargo transport has not been restricted. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Civil Unrest
Haiti carries an elevated threat of civil unrest and protests despite the government's restrictions on nonessential movements. Protests could erupt due to the government's restrictive measures and the lack of access to food and other essential goods amid the pandemic. Even under movement restriction orders, protesters have blocked roads in the capital and national routes around the country. Protesters have thrown rocks and vandalized private businesses in past protests. Similar actions are possible over the coming days and weeks. The lack of access to resources could lead to the looting of stores. There is a high threat of clashes between protesters and police at all demonstrations in Haiti.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Haiti's government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which was declared a pandemic by the Wolrd Health Organization (WHO) March 11. Several governments have begun relaxing certain domestic restrictive measures in response to indications that the spread of the disease has been adequately contained locally, and due to the need to allow some economic recovery. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Avoid all protests; shelter in place if unrest occurs nearby. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance.

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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