The internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli announced that the ongoing curfew will remain in place for at least another ten days as of Thursday, May 28, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The curfew hours will not be modified, running from 18:00 to 06:00 (local time). Further, unconfirmed reports suggest that Sabha is going on a full curfew for seven days and movement in and out will be prohibited after a cluster of 20 cases was reported in the area.
Border crossings and ports of entry within GNA-controlled territory were closed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj on March 16. However, Libyan nationals who were stranded abroad were allowed to return in May. All mosques, schools, restaurants, wedding halls, parks, and shops also remain closed as a precaution.
As of Thursday, May 28, authorities have confirmed 99 cases of COVID-19 and four associated deaths in Libya. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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). 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 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.