The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Thursday, July 30, reported a record daily increase of 216 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Libya's total cases stand at 3621, with 74 associated fatalities, following a further 183 additional cases on Friday, July 31.
The internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) announced on July 30, a 24-hour lockdown for a period of five days commencing at 16:00 (local time) on July 31. Following this, from Wednesday, August 5, a curfew will be in place between 21:00 and 06:00 for a further five days. There will be restrictions in place on all movement between cities during curfew hours, except for accessing essential goods and services such as foodstuffs which individuals will be required to obtain on foot. The measures are also in place to prevent large gatherings, especially in public parks and resorts, in light of the upcoming Eid al-Adha celebration.
On Wednesday, July 28, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE) of the Government of the National Accord announced a ban on prayers at mosques and public squares during the Eid al-Adha holiday between July 30, and Sunday, August 2. A ban on civil aviation remains in place until at least August 2. The ban excludes official visits, medevacs and cargo flights, return flights for Libyans abroad, and departure flights for both Libyans and foreigners. Further, Libya's Airports Authority announced on July 20, that Misrata Airport (MRA) would open on Sunday, July 26, exclusively for departing passengers, and incoming passengers will not be able to enter Libya via MRA unless granted state authorization.
Land and sea border crossing points within GNA territory were closed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj in mid-March. All mosques, schools, restaurants, wedding halls, parks, and shops also remain closed; however, local reports have stated that authorities have been loosely enforcing the closures.
Further international spread of the virus is to be 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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, 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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