Severity: Informational Alert

Culture: Muslims across Africa to observe Eid Al-Fitr from May 23 depending on moon sighting. Additional COVID-19-related restrictions possible.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Burkina Faso
  • Chad
  • Cote d'Ivoire
  • Djibouti
  • Eritrea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Kenya
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Mayotte
  • Comoros
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Senegal
  • Sierra Leone
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Djibouti

This alert began 21 May 2020 00:01 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Eid Al-Fitr
  • Location(s): Sub-Saharan African countries with significant Muslim populations (map)
  • Time Frame: May 23; official date dependent upon lunar sightings
  • Impact: Increased security, widespread business and public office closures

Summary
Muslims will celebrate Eid Al-Fitr (the Feast of Breaking the Ramadan Fast) throughout sub-Saharan Africa starting on or around May 23; the official start date depends on the sighting of the new crescent moon and countries' individual schedules. The feast marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. Government offices, private businesses, financial institutions, and schools typically close for at least three days for the Eid observance. Many foreign embassies in Muslim countries will close during the official holiday period, though emergency assistance is usually available by phone at embassies and consulates.

Many countries in the region could impose or extend curfews and other restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) during the holiday. COVID-19-related restrictions are already in place in Senegal, Sudan, Nigeria, Mauritania, Kenya, Djibouti, and many other countries with a sizable Muslim population. Restrictions may include a complete ban on movement and closure of all nonessential businesses and services. Many countries have closed mosques through Ramadan to prevent large public gatherings from materializing, although some mosques have been reopened in recent weeks. Increased deployment of security personnel is likely regionwide to enforce measures already in place.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all business appointments and 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. 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.


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