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16 Apr 2020 | 05:38 AM UTC

Timor-Leste: Authorities close borders amid COVID-19 April 13 /update 3

Authorities close borders amid COVID-19 on April 13; confirm travel itineraries

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Event

On Monday, April 13, authorities closed Timor Leste's borders to all travelers, including foreign nationals and East Timorese citizens and residents amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Some exceptions may be granted on a case by case basis, for instance to incoming medical staff. All flights remain suspended except for one air link run by Air North between the capital Dili and Australia's Darwin, which resumed limited service on Friday, April 10.

A state of emergency was declared on Saturday, March 28, which includes measures such as forbidding movement in some areas, reducing non-essential services, and mandating the closure of some kinds of businesses.

As of Thursday, April 16, Timor Leste has confirmed eight cases of the virus, with no associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be 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 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.

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 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, 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.