On Saturday, April 4, authorities announced that the quarantines put in place on the cities of Cotonou, Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Ouidah, Sèmè-Podji, Porto-Novo, Akpro-Missérété, So-Ava, Zé, Tori, Aguégués, and Adjarra will be extended until at least Sunday, April 19, to limit the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). People within these cities will only be allowed to travel for essential reasons (health, food supply). As such, all public transportation will be suspended until further notice.
Additionally, individuals in these cities will be required to wear protective masks in all public places as of Thursday, April 9.
School holidays have been announced from Monday, March 30, until Monday, April 13. People are being advised to minimize their movements within the country and to avoid gatherings in public places (beaches, public squares). Land border crossings have also been limited; only necessary crossings agreed with neighboring countries will be allowed. Strict control measures have been implemented at border checkpoints. Travelers entering Benin by air must undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.
As of Tuesday, April 7, there are 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one reported death nationwide. 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 (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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.