On Friday, April 17, authorities announced an extension to existing health measures implemented nationwide in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The extension will remain in place until Sunday, May 10. Places of worship, schools, and universities will remain closed for the duration of the measures.
On Saturday, April 11, the cities of Toffo, Kpomassè, and Atchoukpa were added to the list of cities quarantined in the country until Monday, April 27. The other cities with such measures in place include Cotonou, Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Ouidah, Sèmè-Podji, Porto-Novo, Akpro-Missérété, So-Ava, Zé, Tori, Aguégués, and Adjarra.
Residents of the aforementioned areas may travel for essential reasons (health, food supply) only, and are required to wear protective masks in all public spaces. All public transportation remains suspended until further notice.
Individuals are advised to minimize their movements within the country and to avoid gatherings in public places. Land border crossings have also been restricted; only necessary crossings agreed with neighboring countries will be permitted. Strict control measures remain in place at border checkpoints. Travelers entering Benin by air must undergo a 14-day self-quarantine.
As of Wednesday, April 22, there are 54 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.
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