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 05 Mar 2020 15:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 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 governments in Africa 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 5:
- 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.
- Cote d'Ivoire: Thermal imaging cameras at the airports. Individuals testing positive for COVID-19 will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Cape Verde: Flights to Italy have been suspended.
- Equatorial Guinea: Travelers from China will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Ethiopia: Travelers from China, South Korea, and Italy will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Gabon: Travelers arriving from China banned from entering the country.
- Kenya: Flights from Milan and Verona, Italy, and to and from China, suspended. Travelers from China are required to self-quarantine.
- Liberia: Travelers from China will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Mozambique: Visas for travelers to China suspended. Visas for Chinese travelers to Mozambique suspended.
- Mauritius: Travelers arriving from China, South Korea, and affected regions of Italy will be banned from entering the island.
- Mauritania: Travelers from countries with confirmed cases will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Rwanda: Rwandair has suspended direct flights to China.
- South Africa: Screening upon arrival. South African Airlines has suspended direct flights to China.
- Sierra Leone: Travelers from China will be placed under a 14-day quarantine.
- Uganda: Travelers from China are expected to quarantine themselves for 14-days.
- Zimbabwe: Travelers from countries with confirmed cases will be placed under a 21-day quarantine.
As of March 4 several African countries have implemented enhanced health screenings for passengers. Countries implementing these measures include Zambia, Cote d'Ivoire, the Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, Comoros, Mozambique, Sudan, South Sudan, Angola, Tanzania, Liberia, Benin, Chad, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Togo, Botswana, Burundi, CAR, Djibouti, Eritrea, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, and Zimbabwe.
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
As of March 5, COVID-19 transmissions have been reported in South Africa, Nigeria, and Senegal. Additional cases may be identified in the coming weeks as elevated disease surveillance continues.
The World Health Organization (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.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (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.