Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Aviation authorities reportedly suspend all international commercial passenger flights in Nicaragua April 29 until at least early June.

This alert affects Nicaragua

This alert began 29 Apr 2020 10:51 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Flight suspension
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least early June
  • Impact: International commercial flight cancellations

Summary
Several international carriers have indicated that Nicaraguan civil aviation authorities have reportedly ordered the suspension of all international commercial flights as of April 29. Official communication on the measure has not been published, nor is there official confirmation on the reason for the stoppage; however, it is mostly an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The airlines are likely to suspend their flights through at least early June.

Although repatriation flights for passengers are severely disrupted, Augusto C. Sandino International Airport (MGA) in Managua will remain open for domestic flights and cargo transportation.

Background and Analysis
International commercial flights have already decreased significantly in Nicaragua in recent weeks amid the global spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Unlike other governments globally, President Daniel Ortega has delayed issuing any official domestic or international movement restrictions to stem the spread of COVID-19. Ortega gave a televised speech April 13, more than a month after his previous public appearance, and defended his government's lack of action. Given his insistence that such measures will be harmful to the local population, major domestic restrictions are not likely in the immediate term.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. 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.

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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