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COVID-19: Travel restrictions, border shutdowns border closures by country in Africa

African countries have taken drastic measures, including border, border closures, in an attempt to curb Coronavirus on the continent.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered a lockdown to limit the spread of COVID-19 (AFP Photo/Kola SULAIMON)

Countries on the continent have been warned by the World Health Organization to prepare for the worst as a result of the increase of coronavirus cases within the continent.

With the recent developments of the COVID-19 outbreak in Africa, here are Dozens of countries across the continent have imposed restrictions from night-time curfews to total shutdowns to try to halt the disease.

The lockdown would not affect supplies of medicines and food, and people would be able to leave homes to visit the healthcare facilities. Pharmacies, petrol stations, laboratories, banks, financial services, hospitals, and health care facilities, law and order, and security establishments would be spared from the lockdown.

Below is a list of African countries that have taken such measures in recent days. Travellers should visit government websites for updated information and more details.


On Monday, March 23, President Abdelmadjid Tebboune announced a full lockdown for the Wilayat of Blida and a partial lockdown for the capital Algiers amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In Blida, residents are to remain home for ten days, with few exceptions, all of which must be cleared by the authorities. Algeria is the second worst-hit country in Africa as per the COVID-19 outbreak with over 200 cases.


Oil-rich Angola has seen strict restrictions imposed since Monday.The president of Angola, João Lourenço, has declared a state of emergency in the country to take effect from midnight on Thursday, in a bid to control the spread of the new coronavirus that has caused the Covid-19 pandemic.


Botswana President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Tuesday declared a state of emergency and a 28-day lockdown scheduled to commence at midnight on April 2 as a response to the fight against coronavirus.

Burkina Faso

On Friday, president Roch Marc Christian Kabore announced the country’s two international airports would close for two weeks, with exceptions for military and cargo. Several government ministers in Burkina Faso have tested positive, including the minister of foreign affairs.

According to a government response plan seen by The Associated Press, emergency teams are not trained for a respiratory disease outbreak and do not have appropriate protective gear.

There is also insufficient screening at borders. None of Burkina Faso’s 44 high-flow entry points have the required personal protective equipment, and only 23% have coronavirus screening devices.

Jerry-Jonas Mbasha, cluster coordinator for the World Health Organisation in Burkina Faso, said he was ‘much worried about what might happen in the next one week, two weeks from now’.

Most people only experience minor flu-like symptoms from the coronavirus and recover within a few weeks, but the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by those who appear well.


The country’s borders have remained closed since March 17 while schools have equally been shut down and some public places forced to close at 6pm and market schedules readjusted as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

“These are difficult but necessary measures to ensure the protection of each and every one and to limit the spread of (the COVID-19),” Cameroon’s Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute said while rolling out the 13 measure on March 17.

Cameroon has banned all food products from China because of the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19.

Congo (Republic)

The second largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) began a 48-hour lockdown on Monday after the arrival of two people with suspected coronavirus aboard a flight from Kinshasha.

Security forces were deployed in the city of Lubumbashi, in southeastern DRC, where the streets were deserted and stores were closed.

Cote D’Ivoire

After the confirmation of the first COVID-19 case in Cote D’Ivoire on March 11. The government asked the populations to adopt measures of social separation before closing schools, places of entertainment, restaurants, night clubs and banning gatherings of more than 50 people starting at midnight March 16.


Coronavirus has been in Djibouti since March 18. On 23 March, Tamil Nadu government announced a lockdown of the entire state as COVID-19.

To ease the ordeal for the citizens, the central and state governments allowed uninterrupted availability and supply of essential goods.


The country announced on Monday evening that flights to and from Egypt will be suspended from midday on Thursday until March 31.

Those already in the country are advised to immediately arrange their departure.


Ethiopia on Monday shut its land borders to nearly all human traffic as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Africa’s second-most populous country has so far have struggled in recent days to enforce prevention measures including bans on large gatherings, raising fears the tally could climb.


Gabon announced on Friday that it was suspending access to its territory for all passengers from China in an attempt to prevent any contamination by the coronavirus.

The country has closed air, sea and land borders to passengers for an initial period of 2 weeks, but they remain open to freight.


The country went into a 21-day lockdown on 25 March from midnight to 14 April. Gambia and neighboring Senegal have decided to close their shared border as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, local media reported on Monday.

To ease the ordeal for the citizens, the central and state governments allowed uninterrupted availability and supply of essential goods.
COVID-19 has been in the Gambia since March 17.


President Akufo-Addo has announced a partial lockdown in some parts of the country effective Monday, 30th March at 1pm.

The two-week partial lockdown of Accra, Tema, Kumasi and Kasoa is in full force as Ghana begins its most drastic measure to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.


Guinean President Alpha Conde ordered a night-time curfew in a country already mired in political crisis over suspicions its leader is trying to cling to power.

Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast on Monday each declared a state of emergency in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic. Ivory Coast said it would introduce gradual confinement measures.

Ivory Coast shuttered nightclubs and cinemas. But in television addresses, both countries’ presidents said those measures had proved inadequate.


The East African state is in partial lockdown following the detection of three cases since Friday.

Kenya is currently facing serious threats from corona virus, it has led to many schools and institutions for higher learning are have been shut down due to the fear of the corona virus.

The Nairobi central business district was on a lockdown on Friday morning ahead of demonstrations by Nasa leaders and supporters.

Health officials continued to disinfect crowded markets in the capital, Nairobi, trying to stop the virus’ spread.

‘It’s for the sake of us, it’s for the sake of the country,’ said public health council chairman Simon Kimani.


The Libyan Presidential Council has imposed a curfew on the whole country starting Sunday March 22 from 6.00 PM to 6.00 AM.

Libya’s centre for disease control, the Tripoli-based CNLM, said it has readied measures to be adopted if the virus infiltrates the country. “The virus has circled Libya from all sides. Our neighbours have confirmed cases so we must monitor the cross-border threat,” CNLM president Badreddine al-Najjar told AFP.

Similarly, Tajoura municipality in eastern Tripoli has announced it will impose a complete lockdown and curfew within its administrative borders starting March 24 at 6.00 PM. The step, according to Tajoura municipality’s statement, is part of preventive measures against Coronavirus outbreak in Libya.


Madagascar orders lockdown of two main cities on Sunday in fight against COVID-19. The capital of Antananarivo with 1.6 million people, and Toamasina with more than 300,000.

President Andry Rajoelina warns those who defy the lockdown measures to face severe penalties.

Across the world, an estimated 900 million people are already confined to their homes, according to an AFP tally, as part of efforts to contain the deadly pandemic.

The poor Indian Ocean nation is situated off the southeast coast of Africa, Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. Having developed in isolation, the island nation is famed for its unique wildlife.


Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced a nationwide night-time curfew on Wednesday to limit the spread of coronavirus, but parliamentary elections to go ahead.

Keita while addressing the country on TV said the government will enforce a curfew between 21:00 to 05:00, from Thursday, and close land borders in response to the virus.

The announcement came after the West African country reported its first two coronavirus cases same day. The two patients are Malian nationals, a 49 year-old woman from Bamako and a 62 year-old man living in Kayes.


Following the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, the government of Mauritius has imposed a total lockdown in the tourist hotspot to curb the spread of coronavirus from Friday 20th of March 2020 for a period of two weeks,in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mauritius will go in lockdown for two weeks, as from 06 00 hrs tomorrow morning, as the number of Covid-19 cases rose to seven.the National Lockdown and Curfew in Mauritius have been extended until 15th April 2020 at 8.00 pm.


Morocco on Friday announced strict border restrictions in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Measures have also been put in place to confine citizens to prevent the spread of the virus.

The government called for a total lockdown in their country. The country has decided to suspend all flights and maritime voyages to Spain as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread.

Morocco has urged those back home to take social distancing and isolation seriously as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause concern around the world.


Nigeria is one of the most populated nations in Africa. The west African has closed its borders to all other nations for the time being.  Nigeria embarked late Monday on one of Africa’s most ambitious efforts at social distancing.

The country’s international flight ban came a day after Africa’s busiest airport, in Johannesburg, blocked foreigners from disembarking and two major airlines – Ethiopian Airlines and South African Airways – announced sweeping cancellations of international flights.

Africa’s largest city Lagos appeared deserted Tuesday after Nigeria locked down its economic hub and shuttered its capital in the continent’s latest effort to brake the juggernaut of coronavirus.

Businesses were closed, markets abandoned and streets empty as the usually chaotic megacity of 20 million, along with the capital Abuja, shuddered to a halt on the first full day of a two-week shutdown.


Tunisia has imposed its own lockdown to curb the new virus.The country’s President Kais Saied on Monday ordered the army to deploy in the streets to force people to respect a lockdown imposed to halt the spread of coronavirus, the office of the presidency said in a statement sent to Reuters.

Tunisia will extend a lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus by two weeks to April 19, the presidency said in a statement on Tuesday, report noted.
Authorities in Tunisia have also deployed robots to enforce the country’s lockdown and help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.


Uganda on Tuesday woke up to lockdown after President Yoweri Museveni ordered his East African nation to shut up shop.

During a press conference, Ugandan head of state Yoweri Museveni announced the closure of their borders to all except cargo.

He made it clear that the directive applies to both Ugandan citizens and people from other nationalities. This move came after the country announced its first confirmed case.


On 21st March, Rwanda announced a lockdown for two weeks in efforts to contain the virus from spreading further.

Rwanda said all unnecessary movements outside the home are banned except for essential services such as healthcare and shopping.

Some of the measures that the citizens are expected to comply with include, working from home, minimal movements, closure of bars shops and markets, closed borders among others.


Last week, Senegal suspended international commercial flights. The West African state of Senegal  on Monday declared a state of emergency in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Senegal will impose a dusk-to-dawn curfew. “The speed of the progress of the disease requires us to raise the level of the response,” Senegalese President Macky Sall said in a televised address to the nation.


Seychelles on Monday announced it is temporarily closing down the island nation to cruise ships, a decision taken to protect the population from the threat of the COVID-19 virus but one that will also carry economic reverberations.

Top government officials met on Monday to discuss the imminent arrival of a new cruise ship — the Norwegian Spirit — and the 2019-2020 cruise ship season.


Somalia became one of the latest East African countries on Monday to confirm it’s first coronavirus case, as neighbouring countries shut borders and schools amid fears of contagion.

South Africa

South Africa’s president on Monday said he was deploying the military onto the streets to help police enforce a nationwide lockdown.Mar 23, 2020South Africa will enforce a three-week lockdown over coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced Monday.

People have to stay at home except for circumstances such as going food shopping, seeking medical care or collecting welfare payments. Those employed in essential services are exempt from the ban. All non-essential businesses must also shut down.


Sudan has suspended issuing visas to citizens of countries marked as major coronavirus (Covid-19) hotspots by the World Health Organization (WHO), and advised Sudanese against travelling to those countries unless in the case of force majeure.

Flights to those countries have been suspended and the four crossing points between Sudan and Egypt have been closed.


Zimbabwe began a 21-day nationwide lockdown on Monday, following neighbour South Africa in implementing some of the world’s toughest anti-coronavirus measures.

The Southern African country closed all its borders to traffic except returning residents after reporting its first death from the coronavirus.

The government has stopped schools and public gatherings until further notice. Wilkins hospital in Harare is one of the designated isolation centers of the nation.


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