On Saturday, March 21, interim President Jeanine Áñez announced a mandatory nationwide quarantine effective Sunday, March 22, until Saturday, April 4, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Per the directive, all residents are being requested to limit non-essential movement, and non-essential businesses have been ordered to shut down. Pharmacies, hospitals, and health centers will remain open. Public and private transportation throughout the country will also be suspended. Additionally, presidential elections originally slated for May 3 have been postponed; a new date for the vote was not initially announced.
Authorities had previously announced the closure of land borders and the temporary suspension of all international flights into and out of Bolivia on Tuesday, March 17.
To date, there are over 20 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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 trouble 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 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.