Several African countries continue to enforce travel restrictions, conduct health screenings as of March 5 due to COVID-19.
Severity: Informational Alert
The locations affected by this alert are:
- Burkina Faso
- Cape Verde
- Central African Republic
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Cote d'Ivoire
- Equatorial Guinea
- Sao Tome And Principe
- Sierra Leone
- South Africa
- Eswatini (Swaziland)
- St. Helena
- South Sudan
This alert began 09 Mar 2020 16:19 GMT and is scheduled to expire 09 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.
- Incident: Travel restrictions and health screenings
- Location(s): Africa (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Flight disruptions, longer immigration wait times; possible quarantine measures
Several African governments have intensified travel restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Although specific measures vary by country, the following procedures are in effect as of March 9:
- Angola: Authorities will bar the entry of citizens from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Nigeria, Egypt, and Algeria if they travel directly from those countries. The restriction applies only to persons arriving directly from the listed countries and not those traveling via a third country.
- Benin: Travelers from affected or at-risk countries should report this at a point of entry and undertake a 14-day quarantine.
- Burundi: Travelers from affected countries, including China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Germany, France, Japan, and Spain, will be quarantined for 14 days.
- Cape Verde: Flights to Italy have been suspended.
- Comoros: Travelers from Japan and China may be denied entry. Travelers from other affected countries will be quarantined for 14 days in an unaffected third-party country.
- Cote d'Ivoire: Thermal imaging cameras at the airports. Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Equatorial Guinea: Travelers from China will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Eritrea: Travelers coming from, or in the last 14 days visited/passed through countries with a high incidence of COVID-19 such as China, South Korea, Italy, and Germany, whether they display symptoms or not, will be subjected to quarantine in a local hospital or facility for 14 days, as will anyone who has any symptoms.
- Ethiopia: Travelers from China, South Korea, and Italy will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Gabon: Travelers arriving from China are banned from entering the country.
- Kenya: Flights from Milan and Verona, Italy, and to and from China, are suspended. Travelers from China are required to self-quarantine.
- Lesotho: Travelers from affected countries may be requested to self-quarantine for 14 days.
- Liberia: Travelers from China will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Madagascar: Travelers from Italy, South Korea, or Iran within the last 14 days will be denied entry. Such travelers and travelers from other affected areas face a 14-day quarantine.
- Mauritania: Travelers from China, Iran, Italy, and South Korea temporarily banned from entry.
- Mauritius: Travelers arriving from China, South Korea, and affected regions of Italy will be banned from entering the island.
- Mozambique: Visas for travelers to China suspended. Visas for Chinese travelers to Mozambique suspended.
- Namibia: Travelers who either show symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in a country that is exposed to the COVID-19 virus in recent days may be taken into isolation for treatment.
- Nigeria: No major restrictions, but passengers arriving in Nigeria who have traveled to China in the last two months or to an area with active COVID-19 cases are requested to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days and to report any symptoms to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
- Republic of Congo: Travelers coming from China, Italy, France, South Korea, and Iran will be subject to a 14-day mandatory quarantine.
- Rwanda: Rwandair has suspended direct flights to China.
- Seychelles: All foreign travelers (excluding Seychellois nationals and residents) who have been in China, including Hong Kong and Macao, Iran, Italy, and South Korea in the 14 days before travel are not allowed to enter or transit through the country.
- Sierra Leone: Travelers from China will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Somalia: Somali nationals who have been to China in the 14 days prior to arrival will be placed in quarantine. Foreign nationals who have been to China in the 14 days prior to arrival will be denied entry.
- South Africa: Screening upon arrival. South African Airlines has suspended direct flights to China.
- South Sudan: Travelers who have been to China in the past 14 days but who do not meet the definition of a COVID-19 suspect case or contact will have home-based self-monitoring with daily phone calls from public health officers.
- Uganda: Travelers from Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, China, Germany, and Spain are expected to quarantine themselves for 14-days. The Ministry of Health will continue to observe the developing situation in the UK, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, India, and the US, with further restrictions possible.
- Zimbabwe: Travelers from countries with confirmed cases will be placed under a 14-21-day quarantine.
All countries on the list and others with no major restrictions, such as Nigeria, Niger, and South Africa, have implemented enhanced health screenings for passengers. Additional countries could expand their response in the coming weeks, particularly if COVID-19 activity increases in-country. The measures are unlikely to impact most travelers but may lead to immigration delays, especially for passengers from China and other countries with significant numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Background and Analysis
Several countries in sub-Saharan Africa report imported and transmitted cases of COVID-19. Test results are pending in additional suspected cases, some of which will likely be confirmed.
The WHO identified Angola, Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia as countries likely to be at greatest risk of acquiring the virus due to the high volume of flights and travel between these countries and China.
Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people. Preliminary investigations indicate the course of illness is not as severe as seasonal influenza, nor as contagious.
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.
Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions, particularly if traveling from mainland China, Hong Kong, Iran, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, or Thailand. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings at all ports of entry. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.
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.