Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Liberia extend COVID-19 restrictions May 22 for two weeks. Travel and business disruptions likely.

This alert affects Liberia

This alert began 23 May 2020 10:05 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least early June
  • Impact: Transport and commercial disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Liberia have extended existing restrictions for a further two weeks May 22 as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19); however, some further relaxation of certain measures will take place. A 1500-0600 nationwide curfew will now start at 1800. Restaurants, stores selling food commodities, dry goods, building materials, and electronic appliances will be allowed to open if they operate at 25-percent occupancy and adhere to social distancing measures.

The government previously announced that they would open corridors between counties to allow for the distribution of food aid while observing social distancing measures and the wearing of facemasks. Churches and mosques were also previously allowed to host prayer programs operating at 25-percent capacity. Officials have also permitted the movement of essential staff and products.

Other restrictions will remain in place. These include:

  • Officials have ordered residents in all counties to stay at home except for essential movement. Montserrado and Margibi counties remain under quarantine as a single unit.
  • Wearing facemasks in public spaces is mandatory.
  • All land borders will remain closed until further notice; however, seaports are open.
  • All passenger flights to and from Liberia remain suspended.
  • A national health emergency was declared March 22 and is in place until at least June 9.


Authorities may announce additional measures in the coming weeks.

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.


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