As of Oct. 16, authorities in Mauritania have maintained minimal restrictions following the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. The government reopened Nouakchott International Airport - Oumtounsy (NKC) for international commercial passenger travel from Sept. 10. Domestic flights resumed July 10. The status of international land borders is currently unclear; however, freight travel remains permitted at several border crossings but is subject to enhanced inspections. Travelers to Mauritania must present evidence of a negative COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, dated within 72 hours before arrival. Travelers arriving in Mauritania face screening measures and possible quarantine at a state health facility if displaying symptoms of the disease.
Minimal domestic restrictions remain in place following the easing of measures in July; the use of protective facemasks is compulsory in all public spaces and public transportation, although this measure is not enforced.
Background and Analysis
Authorities previously announced the easing of domestic restrictions nationwide in July, permitting the resumption of intercity travel and the lifting of a nightly curfew, as well as the resumption of public religious ceremonies and the opening of markets and restaurants nationwide.
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.
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.