Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Paraguay extends closure of all borders, suspends flights through April 12. 24-hour isolation and internal transport restrictions ordered.

This alert affects Paraguay

This alert began 01 Apr 2020 13:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Apr 2020 19:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, increased police presence

Summary
The Paraguayan government extended the closure of all its international borders and the suspension of all commercial passenger flights at all airports through at least April 12, to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Limited exceptions will be made for repatriation flights. Cargo is still permitted to cross the borders.

Locally, the government maintains an order prohibiting all nonessential movements through April 12. Residents should maintain 24-hour preventative isolation during this time, and may only circulate to purchase essential supplies, for medical reasons, or if participating in the provision of essential goods and services. The government will suspend all long-, medium-, and short-distance public transport services from 0001 April 5-2359 April 12. Authorities will also implement strict controls on all travel between Asuncion and Central Department, and the interior of the country, beginning 2359 April 1. National police and military personnel will be deployed to facilitate checkpoints.

The measures in place will significantly disrupt business and transport in the country, with increased police and military presence in the streets. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Paraguayan government are similar to those 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.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int