Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (March 10, 2020)
Location: Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Event: There is an ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) first identified in Wuhan, China. The global public health threat posed by COVID-19 is high, with more than 100,000 reported cases worldwide.
The DRC Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the DRC on March 10, 2020.
The Ministry of Health implemented enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. All travelers entering the DRC at any point of entry (air, land, boat) are subject to health checks to include temperature checks. Visit the website of the DRC Ministry of Health (in French) for additional information.
U.S. government personnel are advised to travel only for mission critical purposes and are ordered to follow DRC policies on self-quarantining after travel to the above countries.
On March 10, 2020 the Ministry of Health announced a self-quarantine requirement on all travelers arriving in the DRC who have been in the following countries in the 14 days prior to their arrival in the DRC and show no specific symptoms related to COVID-19:
· South Korea
Self-quarantine is to take place for 14 days at the expense of the traveler and can take place in a residence or hotel. Specific rules are dictated by local health officials and international guidance. Per the DRC Ministry of Health, the following guidance is an example of what a self-quarantine of a healthy person could involve: stay home, practice social distancing (maintaining more than 1 meter space), sleep in a separate room, and use a separate bathroom if possible. Minimize direct contact with other people. Sanitize surfaces with disinfectants. Take your temperature twice a day and report any fever, cough, or respiratory symptoms immediately.
Individuals arriving within the past two weeks from one or more of these countries who demonstrate specific symptoms related to COVID-19, including fever, fatigue, and dry cough, will be transported to a medical facility for isolation and further testing by the Ministry of Health. Those that are deemed not likely to have COVID-19 will be released and those deemed to possibly be infected will receive medical treatment.
Passengers who transit the listed countries but do not leave the airport, and show no symptoms, will be permitted entry into DRC with no restrictions. Passengers who transit a country and leave the airport for even a short period of time may be subject to the quarantine or isolation policies.
The DRC government indicated they may extend the list of affected countries and restrictions with little or no advance notice.
Actions to Take:
· Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
· For the most recent information on what you can do to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 please see the CDC’s latest recommendations.
Visit the COVID-19 crisis page on travel.state.gov for the latest information.
Check with your airlines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
· Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the U.S.
· Seek medical care right away if you believe you may have COVID-19 (or similar symptoms) or were exposed to someone who may have COVID-19 in the last six weeks. Visit the U.S. Embassy’s Medical Assistance page to find medical provider information in the DRC.
· U.S. Embassy Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo: +243 81-556-0151/152\
· State Department – Consular Affairs: +1 888-407-4747 or +1 202-501-4444
· Democratic Republic of Congo Country Information
· Enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security updates.
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