Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Niger eases air border restrictions from Aug. 1. State of health emergency remains in place as part of measures to curb spread of COVID-19.

  • Alert Begins: 21 Jul 2020 11:40 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 03 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant travel, transport, and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Niger will reopen the country's air borders from Aug. 1. Land and air borders had been closed since March 2020 as part of the country's response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Land borders will remain closed. New measures have been introduced to support to resumption of international travel and all travelers arriving in Niger must present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before arrival. Travelers who arrive in the country without this document must undergo an on-site test at their own expense. Other health screening measures will also be present at international airports. Departing travelers face similar directives.

The announcement of the resumption of international air travel follows the government's extension of the country's state of health emergency for a further three months from July 12 as part of the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the extension of the emergency, several restrictions have also been eased recently, including the May 23 lifting of the curfew in Niamey and the resumption of academic activities, including the reopening of schools, June 1. Places of worship have also been allowed to reopen nationwide.

Domestic travel remains largely unrestricted with travel permitted into and out of Niamey. The transport of cargo is permitted, and essential businesses are functioning. Officials may extend existing measures or impose new restrictions with little to no advance notice.

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. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. 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. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo. Avoid all demonstrations.

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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