Niger’s Council of Ministers announced on Wednesday, April 22, that curfew hours in the capital Niamey will be eased to 21:00 to 05:00 (local time). Previously, the curfew was in effect from 19:00 to 06:00 to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the city. However, other restrictions and regulations remain in place, including wearing a mask in public and avoiding travel. Strict control measures for the capital and travel into and out of the city is still prohibited until at least Saturday, April 25.
The decision comes after multiple violent protests were held in around ten neighborhoods in Niamey from between Friday, April 17, and Wednesday. Almost 300 people have been arrested during the demonstrations in opposition of the lockdown measures. Protesters burned tired and blocked roads with debris in some areas.
Niger's land borders remain closed until further notice and all international passenger flights are suspended until April 25. The current restrictions may be extended following an assessment of the situation in the country by the Council of Ministers.
As of Friday, April 24, 671 cases of COVID-19 and 24 associated fatalities have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus 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 (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 COVID-19 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 general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or 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.
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