Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Turks and Caicos extend movement restrictions and curfew through May 4 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Other measures remain.

This alert affects Turks and Caicos Islands

This alert began 13 Apr 2020 14:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 4
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Turks and Caicos will extend the mandatory 24-hour curfew and other movement and business restrictions through at least May 4, as part of their efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Personnel involved in the provision of essential goods and services, including electricity, water distribution, communication, fuel services, ferry services, and air services, are exempt from the curfew. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes to obtain essential goods and services and to attend a medical issue. All business are to close on Wednesdays and Sundays. The government has also banned all public meetings, processions, or social functions of more than 25 people, and closed all schools through May 4.

These measures are in addition to the closure of all air and seaports to regional and international passenger transport since March 24. Domestic flights as well as all cargo, courier, and emergency transportation, are exempt. Cruise ships are prohibited from docking through June 30. Returning legal residents and citizens will be subject to heightened health screenings and quarantine protocols on arrival. The movement of people between the islands is restricted, except for essential banking health, and emergency services, and cargo transportation.

The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport throughout the islands; increased police presence is probable. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Turks and Caicos are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks 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. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

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.

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 Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Government of Turks and Caicos - COVID-19: www.gov.tc