The Government of Eritrea has been issuing and implementing timely guidelines and regulations in the past months keenly aware, as it is, of the grave danger that the COVID-19 pandemic poses, But in spite of these measures, there are preliminary and preoccupying indicators that the pandemic has been slowly spreading in recent times in all the Regions in the country – including in some rural areas – to infect people with no recent history of travel abroad.
This incipient trend is dangerous and perturbing. Indeed, unless the new trend is reversed by prompt and effective preventive measures aimed at breaking the transmission cycle of the pandemic, the handful cases of contagion that have occurred so far can multiply exponentially to affect thousands of residents in a short span of time. In the event, there is no alternative other than implementing vigorous and stringent measures so as to curtail the spread of the contagion and to guarantee the safety of our citizens.
In this respect, the High Level Task Force on COVID-19 is issuing the following new Guidelines.
1. Movement of all citizens will be restricted except in cases of indispensable developmental, service and security tasks that are authorized by the respective competent bodies.
2. Travel from one village/city to another village/city in the country will be banned.
3. With the exception of those given specific permits, the use of private cars and other individual means of transport will not be allowed in this period. Trucks are exempted from this restriction for tasks limited to freight services only.
4. With the exception of trade services related to the daily livelihood of people, all other trading enterprises will be closed. The former will close at 8-00 pm every evening.
5. Major productive and service sectors (manufacturing, agriculture, food processing, construction, etc.) will continue their functions.
6. Citizens in the rural areas engaged in farming and animal husbandry will continue with their vital developmental tasks.
7. All Government institutions will stop routine and other services other than indispensable functions of developmental, public utility and public safety and security nature.
8. Vital social occasions – funerals, mourning etc. -will be held with a small number of participants – not more than 10 people. Other social events will have to be postponed;
9. All public and private institutions that will continue their operations in accordance with these Guidelines will have to strictly observe social-distancing, sanitation, use of disinfectants and masks, as well as, other regulations that may be announced by the Ministry of Health.
10. Rigorous implementation of the measures spelled out above will be secured, beyond the critical commitment of the citizens concerned, by the police and security authorities as well as by neighborhood committees. Punitive legal measures will be taken on any individual who violates these Guidelines.
11. These guidelines will be effective from Tuesday morning (6:00 a.m.), December 22nd onwards. These Guidelines will be assessed periodically in a comprehensive manner and relaxed depending on the trajectory and threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
High Level Task Force on COVID-19
20 December 2020