Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Yemen-based Yemenia suspends flights through April 15 due to COVID-19 activity. Further restrictions remain likely.

This alert affects Yemen

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 15:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through April 15
  • Impact: Entry and travel restrictions; transport and possible business disruptions

Summary
The flag carrier airline of Yemen, Yemenia (IY), has announced it will suspend all flights through at least April 15 due to the continued closure of the country's airports to commercial flights. The internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabo Mansour al-Hadi suspended all flights, except for the UN, to and from areas under its control in Yemen starting March 18 for two weeks. On the same day, the Shi'a Al-Houthi rebels, who control Sana'a and much of northern Yemen, announced that they would close Sana'a International Airport (SAH) for a period of two weeks. However, neither al-Hadi's government nor the Al-Houthis have released further updates on when the airports under their control will resume operations. The preventive restrictions have been put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Al-Hadi's government also closed all border crossings, except for commercial and humanitarian shipments, from March 17 until further notice.

Background and Analysis
Yemen's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally 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
Individuals affected by the restrictions should postpone planned travel to Yemen. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

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