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17 Mar 2020 | 09:22 PM UTC

Mauritania: All flights suspended on March 17 /update 2

Government suspends all flights to Mauritania on March 17 due to ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak; other quarantine measures in effect

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MRT

Event

All flights to and from Mauritania were suspended on Tuesday, March 17, due to the ongoing international coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. According to media reports, the government has also closed most border cross points into the country. Other quarantine measures remain in place, including the suspension of all cultural activities until further notice. School and universities are closed nationwide for a week from Monday, March 16. Anyone who has returned to the country from an area where the virus is present within the past 14 days but is not showing symptoms must self-quarantine as a precaution. Individuals who have come into close contact with someone with coronavirus must also be isolated at home.

As of March 17, one case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the country. 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 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 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 general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide 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.