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21 Mar 2020 | 04:39 PM UTC

Dominican Republic: Government implements two-week nighttime curfew from March 20 over COVID-19 concerns /update 2

Dominican Republic implements two-week nighttime curfew from March 20 over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) concerns; further international spread of COVID-19 to be expected over the near term

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Event

The Dominican Republic implemented a two-week nighttime curfew from Friday, March 20, to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) within the country's borders. The curfew will be in effect from 20:00 to 06:00 (local time) every day through Friday, April 3, limiting the movement of all people except for health workers, press workers, electricity workers, and private security. Public transportation and private bus services will also be indefinitely suspended from Saturday, March 21.

The move comes after President Danilo Medina suspended all inbound passenger air and maritime transportation, closed the country's land border with Haiti, and closed all schools and entertainment centers. Nonessential businesses have been ordered to shut down; exemptions to the shutdown order have been made for pharmacies, markets, grocery stores, and banks.

As of Saturday, the Dominican Republic has confirmed over 110 cases of COVID-19. Further international spread of COVID-19 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 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, 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.