Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities expire state of emergency July 21. International flights to Liberia ongoing. Domestic restrictions remain.

  • Alert Begins: 22 Jul 2020 12:49 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 29 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Date: July 21
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, heightened security

Summary
Authorities in Liberia have stated the country's state of emergency will not be renewed following its expiration July 21. Following the expiration, armed forces contigents deployed to enforce restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) will return to their barracks. Despite the expiration of the state of emergency, the Ministry of Health will continue to use public health measures to safeguard the public. The status of other restrictions, such as curfews and quarantine measures, is currently unclear following the expiration of the state of emergency. As it stands, restrictions still in place include:

 

  • Montserrado and Margibi counties remain under quarantine as a single unit.

 

  • Wearing face coverings in public spaces is mandatory.

 

  • All land borders will remain closed until further notice.

 

  • Movement between counties that have not reported COVID-19 cases remains restricted.

 

  • Churches and mosques can open, operating at 25 percent capacity.

 

  • Officials have permitted the movement of essential staff and products.

 

  • Restaurants, and stores selling food commodities, dry goods, building materials, and electronic appliances, are allowed to operate if they enforce 25 percent capacity and adhere to social-distancing measures.

 


International commercial flights to Liberia have resumed following the arrival of a commercial aircraft traveling from Brussels, Belgium, June 29. The Brussels Airlines (SN) flight landed at Monrovia-Roberts International Airport (ROB). All arriving passengers will be screened for symptoms. Passengers without a test from the point of departure will face tests at ROB. Authorities could introduce additional preventative measures in the coming days and weeks depending on virus activity.

Background and Analysis
The action to end the country's state of emergency comes likely as a result of domestic pressure rather than an improvement in the health environment. Cases of the disease continue to be reported across Liberia. 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. Confirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying travel 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 non-emergency health appointments.

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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