On Friday, March 20, Ivorian authorities announced that the country's air, sea, and land borders would be closed to all human traffic beginning at midnight (local time) on Sunday, March 22, until further notice due to concerns over the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The announcement indicated that the traffic of goods across Ivorian borders would remain authorized. Humanitarian and security corridors will also be open for COVID-19 management.
The move comes after the Ivorian government closed all educational institutions (i.e. primary schools, universities, etc.) for a 30-day period from March 16. All sports and cultural events have also been suspended and public venues such as nightclubs, theaters, and cinemas - with the exceptions of bars and restaurants - have been closed for an indefinite period from March 18.
Côte d'Ivoire has confirmed 14 cases of COVID-19 as of Saturday, March 21. Further international spread of COVID-19 is 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 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.