Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Mauritania ease COVID-19-related restrictions and curfew times from May 7 to accommodate observance of Ramadan.

This alert affects Mauritania

This alert began 07 May 2020 16:08 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 23
  • Impact: Severe travel disruptions

Summary
The government of Mauritania eased some coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related restrictions and curfew times to accommodate the observance of Ramadan, May 7. New curfew times will be 2300-0600, shortened from the previous 1800-0600. Emergency and essential services will continue to remain operational for the duration of the curfew. Authorities have also authorized public religious services and the opening of markets and restaurants nationwide. Ramadan observance will end May 23, and measures will likely be reviewed then. The suspension of international travel, including flights and overland journeys, is ongoing as of May 7. Mauritania's borders remain closed, and freight services are subject to increased inspections. Maritime services likely face similar conditions.

Sporadic clashes are possible if any group attempts to break the curfew; security forces will likely act quickly to control such incidents. Individuals in contact with possible COVID-19 cases face a 21-day mandatory quarantine.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond 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 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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