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19 Oct 2020 | 02:44 AM UTC

Madagascar: Authorities announce end of state of health emergency October 18 /update 19

Authorities end state of health emergency on October 18; heed official instructions



The Madagascan government announced on Sunday, October 18, the end of the state of health emergency which was introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Despite the lifting of the emergency, the reopening of the country's borders which was to occur on October 29 has been postponed due to an increase in cases in other countries.

Although a number of restrictions, including curfews, have been lifted, a number of measures remain in place to combat the potential spread of COVID-19. The wearing of facemasks is compulsory in all public spaces, including shops. Business opening hours and public transport operations are subject to potential changes at short notice.

International flights to mainland Madagascar remain suspended, with international travel only permitted to Nosy Be International Airport (NOS) as of October 1. Domestic flights have also resumed, with passengers required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from within 48 hours prior to their departure.

As of Monday, October 19, health authorities have reported 16,810 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Madagascar, with 238 associated deaths. Further 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.


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 your 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.

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