Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Haiti extends internal movement restrictions, 2000-0500 curfew, and closure of ports through July 19 due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Haiti

This alert began 21 May 2020 10:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Jul 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and transport disruptions, increased security; possible protests and clashes

Summary
Authorities in Haiti again extended the nationwide health emergency and associated movement restrictions through July 19. The measures first came into effect March 19 as part of the nation's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The 2000-0500 curfew, which has been in effect since March 20, will remain unchanged until further notice. Citizens are to stay limited to essential movements only, outside of curfew hours. The government has made the use of a face mask mandatory in public spaces as of May 11. Failure to comply will result in a fine. There is an existing ban on all events and meetings of more than 10 people. All schools, universities, some factories, and places of worship are to remain closed during the emergency period. Local officials could impose their own additional measures or limit inter-municipal or inter-departmental transport, depending on local disease activity.

These measures are in addition to the indefinite closure of all land, air, and seaports of entry and exit, and the suspension of all commercial passenger flights. Cargo transport will not be restricted; trucks will be able to cross from the Dominican Republic, but authorities have increased security measures and health screenings. 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 been known to throw rocks and vandalize private businesses. 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 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 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.


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