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18 Mar 2020 | 06:06 AM UTC

Honduras: Domestic restriction implemented amid COVID-19 fears March 17 /update 1

Curfews and airport closures announced to curb COVID-19 spread March 17; follow local directives

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Event

On Wednesday, March 17, a curfew came into effect in Tegucigalpa, La Ceiba, and Choluteca as the government seeks to limit the coronavirus (COVID-19) spread nationwide. The curfew will remain in effect for seven days. Supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and banks remain closed in these cities, and public transportation has been suspended.

For other parts of the nation, most public and private sector work is suspended, along with sporting, cultural, and social events. Shopping malls, other businesses, and schools will be closed, and no public transportation services will be available. In-person religious celebrations are also prohibited.

On Monday, March 16, the government of Honduras closed all land, air, and sea borders to travelers, followed by the closure of Tegucigalpa's Toncontin (TGU) and Golosón de La Ceiba (LCE) airports.

There are some exceptions to the strict quarantine measures. Honduran citizens, permanent and temporary residents, and accredited diplomats will be allowed to enter the country but must enter mandatory self-quarantine upon entry. Hospitals, health care centers, and medical and veterinary laboratories will continue to operate, as well as other critical public sector employees related to emergency services, security, national defense, and customs. Banks, gas stations, freight operators, supermarkets, grocery stores, and other private sector business will also remain operational to provide necessary services across the country.

As of Wednesday, March 18, eight cases of the virus have been confirmed in Honduras. 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 COVID-19 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 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.