On Wednesday, April 1, the Eritrean government announced a nationwide 21-day lockdown from Thursday, April 2, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). All citizens have been instructed to stay at home during this period, and only two people from each household may go outdoors for food or medical treatment at any given time. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks will remain open during the day. Security forces have also been deployed to enforce the quarantine measures. Additionally, schools and public transport continue to be suspended nationwide.
A temporary ban of all commercial passenger flights to and from Eritrea came into effect on Thursday, March 26, as a precautionary measure. The ban will remain in effect for two weeks before being reviewed for prolongation.
To-date, there are at least 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Eritrea. Further international spread of the virus is expected.
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 (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.
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.