Middle East and North African states maintain enhanced health screenings, some impose travel restrictions to and from China, as of Feb. 6.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Bahrain
  • Egypt
  • Iraq
  • Jordan
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Morocco
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • Syria
  • Tunisia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Saudi Arabia

This alert began 06 Feb 2020 17:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Increased health screenings
  • Location(s): Middle East and North Africa (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of Feb. 6
  • Impact: Longer immigration wait times for passengers from China; possible quarantine

Summary
As of Feb. 6, several countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, including Egypt, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Qatar, Syria, Morocco, and Lebanon, have implemented or are maintaining enhanced health screenings for passengers from China due to the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak. Other countries have prohibited all travel to and from China. Regional airlines, including Saudia (SV), Royal Air Maroc (AT), Etihad (EY), and others, have suspended services to China. The precaution follows an increase in reported cases of 2019-nCoV in Wuhan and other Chinese cities. Chinese authorities have confirmed person-to-person transmission of the virus. Emirati authorities confirmed the first case of the virus in the Middle East region, Jan. 29.

Countries could expand their response in the coming days, particularly if the number of cases in-country increases. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers but may lead to immigration delays and possible quarantine of at least 14 days, especially for passengers from China. Increased health screenings are likely to result in increased wait times at international airports and some land border crossings.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings, especially if traveling from China. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Confirm entry requirements, visa validity, and travel reservations before checking out of accommodation.

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.