Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Liberia closes land borders with neighboring states amid other health and travel restrictive measures to combat COVID-19, as of April 2.

This alert affects Liberia

This alert began 02 Apr 2020 10:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least the end of April
  • Impact: Transport and commercial disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Liberia have closed the land borders with Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Cote d'Ivoire as of April 2 in the latest measure to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The closure will not impact the movement of essential goods; however, significant delivery delays are likely due to enhanced screening measures at land border crossing points.

Liberia declared a National Health Emergency March 22 and has enforced various health and travel measures to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Commercial passenger flights were suspended 2359 March 23 for 21 days. The order excludes cargo and other flights specifically authorized by the government. Other measures include the closure of education facilities, entertainment venues, and religious centers, and a ban on public gatherings of more than 10 people. There are also limitations on the number of persons allowed on ground public transportation vehicles. Authorities have reportedly discouraged persons from traveling to and from Montserrado, including Monrovia, and Margibi counties. The status of maritime traffic is unclear; however, local media reports suggest that persons arriving by sea are being quarantined for 14 days.

Liberia is likely to extend its current restrictions through late April and may announce additional measures in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government corresponds with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days 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 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 hand-washing 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
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Liberia Ministry of Health: moh.gov.lr

National Health Emergency declaration: https://emansion.gov.lr