Skip to main content
19 Mar 2020 | 01:54 AM UTC

DRC: Government orders some flight suspensions due to COVID-19 from March 20 /update 1

Government to suspend all flights from countries with a high-risk of COVID-19 from March 20; other containment measures in effect

entry/exit
health
transportation
COD

Event

President Felix Tshisekedi has ordered flights from countries with a high risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) to be suspended from Friday, March 20. As of Wednesday, March 18, high risk countries include China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Iraq. However, the list of countries may change at short notice.

Additional containment measures are also in place across the country to prevent further spread of the virus. All schools, universities, and other private education institutions will be closed and all gatherings are suspended for at least four weeks from Thursday, March 19. Any person arriving in the DRC showing symptoms of the virus will be treated as a suspected case, placed in isolation and treated by the Ministry of Health. Thermal scanners and increased screening measures will also be in place at border posts and airports across the country.

As of March 18, seven cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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 non-essential 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, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.