Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Mauritania extend nationwide curfew through at least June 30. Travel restrictions remain in place. 

  • Alert Begins: 16 Jun 2020 11:55 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 30 Jun 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least late June
  • Impact: Severe travel disruptions

Summary
The government of Mauritania has extended measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through at least June 30. As part of the extension, a nightly 2000-0600 curfew remains in place. Authorities have also maintained the suspension of travel between regions. The use of protective masks is compulsory in all public spaces. The extension of restrictions comes as the number of cases of the disease in Mauritania continues to rise. Emergency and essential services will continue to remain operational for the duration of the curfew.

Authorities had earlier authorized public religious ceremonies and the opening of markets and restaurants nationwide. The suspension of international travel, including flights, is ongoing as of June 16. Mauritania's borders remain closed, and freight services are subject to increased inspections. Maritime services likely face similar conditions. Travel into the capital Nouakchott is also restricted.

Sporadic clashes are possible if any group attempts to break the curfew; security forces will likely act quickly to control such incidents.

Background and Analysis
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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