Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Iowa, US, order nonessential businesses to close, ban gatherings until at least April 30, to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Waterloo, Iowa
  • Sioux City, Iowa
  • Burlington, Iowa
  • Mason City, Iowa
  • Ames, Iowa

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 15:13 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Iowa (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds issued orders to close multiple nonessential businesses through at least April 30, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). As of April 8, businesses and facilities such as malls, casinos, theaters, salons, entertainment stores, social clubs, gyms, museums, playgrounds and campgrounds, and pools are closed to the public, while restaurants can only operate for delivery and pickup services. Public schools have also canceled classes until at least April 30. All gatherings of 10 people or more have been banned. Essential services, including grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare facilities, banks, fuel stations, and media, manufacturing, energy, transport, and security companies, can remain open.

Iowa authorities have not ordered residents to stay at home, but have urged the population to maintain a proper distance from others.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Iowa authorities are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and 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. On March 11, the World Health Organization (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.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Government of Iowa - COVID-19 Updates: https://idph.iowa.gov/

Governor of Iowa - Order to Close Nonessential Businesses: https://governor.iowa.gov/