Summary
Timor-Leste has extended its nationwide state of emergency through Dec. 3 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials continue to ban people who show symptoms of COVID-19, except for those in a medical emergency, from using public transport. Essential services, such as medical facilities, can continue to operate. Food markets will likely remain operational with protocols in place. Most businesses and services are open with safeguards in place. Authorities require people to wear facemasks, frequently sanitize their hands, and maintain a 1.5-meter (5-feet) distancing from one another when in public. The government is also encouraging people to avoid crowds.

Travel Restrictions
The country's borders remain closed to foreigners, though the government would consider appeals. Those who wish to enter Timor-Leste must obtain official approval before travel. Incoming passengers must test for COVID-19 before departure and undergo another test and quarantine for 14 days at government-designated facilities upon arrival. Travelers can leave the isolation sites upon testing negative for COVID-19 at the end of the isolation period. International passenger flights remain suspended, except for medical evacuations, humanitarian flights, and government operations.

Officials allow a limited number of people, with priority for Timor-Leste citizens, to enter through its land border with Indonesia every 17 days since Aug. 11. People who cross the border illegally will pay fines of up to USD 250 and quarantine costs. Shipping operations continue at the country's ports, including the Port of Dili. The government will likely continue to adjust restrictions in the coming weeks, depending on local COVID-19 activity.

Background and Analysis
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. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. 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. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

 

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