On Monday, August 31, authorities in eastern Libya reopened all land, air, and sea borders in areas under its control. The Borders Security Directorate took the decision to reopen borders on the advice of the Anti-Coronavirus Committee. Authorities stated certain controls in place with the reopening, which will include a monthly list classifying countries as red or green based on their infection rates. Passengers will also be required to provide a negative coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test taken within 48 hours prior to arrival. Despite the reopening of borders, it is currently unclear to what level commercial flights will resume.
In the west, a nationwide 24-hour lockdown for four days on Wednesday, August 26, has been followed by a ten-day 21:00 to 06:00 (local time) curfew until September 9. Although ostensibly a response to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Tripoli, the restrictions come at a time of increasing tensions within Government of National Accord (GNA) controlled areas and follow several days of anti-government protests in Tripoli and other cities over living conditions.
As of Tuesday, September 1, there have been 13,966 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Libya, with 237 associated deaths. 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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