Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Turks and Caicos increase movement restrictions April 10 and 12, to curb the spread of COVID-19. Other measures remain.

This alert affects Turks and Caicos Islands

This alert began 10 Apr 2020 01:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 14
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, international and internal movement restrictions, business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Turks and Caicos have increased business restrictions for April 10 and April 12, as part of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials have ordered the closure of all businesses April 10 and April 12, with exemptions for healthcare facilities, ferry services for emergencies, commercial aviation, and security services.

A mandatory 24-hour curfew remains in place until at least April 14. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes to obtain essential goods and services, to attend a medical issue, and to exercise for a maximum of 90 minutes per day, between 0500-0900 or between 1700-1900. Personnel involved in the provision of essential goods and services, including electricity, water distribution, communication, fuel services, ferry services, and air services, may also leave their homes.

These measures are in addition to the closure of all air and sea ports to regional and international passenger travel from 2359 March 24-April 14. Returning legal residents and citizens are exempt from the measure but will be subject to heightened health screenings and quarantine protocols on arrival. The government has also banned all public meetings, processions, or social functions of more than 25 people. All education facilities will remain closed through April 20. The movement of people between the islands is strongly discouraged. The government could expand or extend its preventative measures and movement restrictions locally over the coming days and weeks. 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/moh/coronavirus