Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj declared a State of Emergency (SoE) on Saturday, March 14, amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. He subsequently announced that all border crossing points via land and sea will close from Monday, March 16. Schools will close for two weeks from Sunday, March 15, as well as some non-essential businesses such as cafes. Local sources report that authorities in some areas are requiring individuals to self-quarantine for 14 days, and that officials at Misrata Airport (MRA) are due to bar entry to foreign nationals. However, officials have not yet immediately confirmed this or announced any details. Details are still emerging, however, further transport disruptions including domestic and international flight disruptions are anticipated in the coming days and weeks.
As of March 14, officials have not yet confirmed any COVID-19 cases in Libya. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.