Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Libya's UN-recognized government in Tripoli extends 2000-0600 curfew through July 17 due to COVID-19 activity.

  • Alert Begins: 08 Jul 2020 01:14 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 01 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions, increased security

Libya's Tripoli-based internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) has extended a nightly 2000-0600 curfew through July 17 as part of its efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A 24-hour daily curfew will enter into force on Fridays and Saturdays. The GNA has also imposed a complete curfew in areas captured from the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) in southern Libya in recent days. The measure allows essential businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, to operate during the curfew hours but restricts vehicular movement between districts and cities. Residents can travel on foot to obtain food and medications. GNA also previously reduced government working hours to 0900-1200. It is unclear if the measure is still in effect.

The government in eastern Libya, led by the LNA leader Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has intermittently imposed similar preventative measures and curfews in areas under its control.

The GNA had declared a state of emergency, and both the Tripoli and eastern Libya administrations have kept the country's land, sea, and air borders closed since March 16. Authorities also banned large gatherings and mandated that restaurants and cafes must close at 1600 daily. Both administrations also closed schools until further notice. Additional preventive restrictions remain likely in the coming days and weeks.

Background and Analysis
Libya's preventive restrictions are similar to actions other governments are taking globally 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.

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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