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23 Mar 2020 | 05:17 AM UTC

DRC: Authorities suspend international flights until April 3 /update 2

Authorities suspend all international passenger flights until at least April 3; confirm flight itineraries

entry/exit
health
transportation
COD

Event

On Saturday, March 21, authorities announced that all international commercial flights will be suspended until at least Friday, April 3, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As of Monday, March 23, domestic flights remain unaffected but authorities declared they may be impacted with little to no advance notice.

Additionally, authorities announced that schools are to remain closed until Friday, April 17, and that public gatherings are banned until further notice. In Kinshasa, local authorities closed markets and non-essential businesses until further notice.

As of March 23, there are 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one confirmed death nationwide. Further spread of the virus expected.

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 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 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.