As of 16 March 2020, a number of major U.S. cities are employing precautionary measures — such as shutting down schools, public sites and entertainment venues — in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Several urban centers, including Los Angeles and New York, have closed schools; in New York City, all public schools will close from 16 March through at least 20 April. The U.S. states of Connecticut, New Jersey and New York are set to impose new restrictions as of 2000 local time on 16 March (0000 UTC on 17 March) that include shutting down entertainment venues — such as gyms, movie theaters and casinos. Commercial establishments selling food are allowed to provide carryout and delivery services only. Additionally, all bars and restaurants in the states of Ohio and Washington will be closed with the same exceptions. In Las Vegas, major hotels and casinos in The Strip will shut down as of 17 March. Most notably, on 15 March the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that individuals avoid all gatherings of more than 50 individuals or more throughout the U.S. for the next eight weeks. The U.S. has reported at least 3,774 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
In Central America, Panamanian and Honduran authorities announced on 15 March that land, air and sea borders will be closed to foreign nationals for their respective countries beginning at 2359 local time on 16 March (0459 UTC on 17 March). In Panama, only citizens and legal residents of Panama will be allowed to enter the country after these measures are in place; however, food and medical supplies will continue to be allowed into Panama. Authorities are also closing businesses in the country, with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies and medical centers. Restaurants will be able to provide food for carryout and delivery only. In Honduras, borders will remain open only for cargo. All public events have been canceled and all businesses have been closed with the exception of supermarkets, pharmacies, hospitals, hotels, gas stations and banks. While there have been 43 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Panama, only three confirmed cases have been recorded in Honduras.
In Guatemala, President Alejandro Giammattei announced that U.S. and Canadian nationals will not be allowed to enter Guatemala beginning on 15 March over COVID-19 concerns. Authorities had previously banned travelers who had been in China, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, South Korea or Spain in the past 30 days from entering Guatemala. Guatemala has only one confirmed case of COVID-19.
In the Dominican Republic, President Danilo Medina announced that all flights to and from China, Europe, Iran and South Korea will be suspended for one month effective 0600 local time (1000 UTC) on 16 March. Additionally, any travelers who have been to Europe and the aforementioned countries in the last two weeks will face quarantine. The duration of quarantine is unknown at this time. All cruise ships are forbidden to dock at the country’s ports effective immediately. There are 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
In South America, the Argentine government announced the closure of Argentina’s borders to all foreigners from 16-31 March. Only Argentine nationals and legal residents of Argentina will be allowed to enter the country. Argentina had previously closed its borders to travelers from China, Japan, Iran, South Korea, the U.S., the U.K. and all of Europe. Argentina has at least 46 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
In Colombia, the government announced a ban on all foreign travelers entering the country beginning on 16 March. Authorities require that Colombian nationals and residents undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine period upon arrival. There are at least 34 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
In Chile, the president announced the closure of all borders — including air, land and sea — to all foreign travelers as of 18 March for an unspecified time frame. The declaration exempts Chilean nationals and permanent residents. The border closure will not affect cargo or trade. Additionally, all schools are suspended for two weeks and gatherings with more than 500 people are banned. Chile has 155 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a notable increase from approximately 50 cases on 14 March.
Beginning on 15 March all travel to Ecuador via air, land and sea will be suspended indefinitely. Both foreign and Ecuadorian nationals will be prohibited from entering the country under the most recent restrictions; the ban on all Ecuadorian nationals will come into effect on 16 March. At this time, there are no restrictions on departures from the country; however, flights and other modes of transportation are likely to be disrupted. There have been 37 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Ecuador.
In Peru, the government announced the closure of land borders and the suspension of air and sea transport for 15 days beginning on 16 March. During this period, authorities will also restrict movement within the country. Residents may only go out to purchase food and medication or go to the bank. President Martin Vizcarra has advised all citizens to self-quarantine for 15 days. The country has 71 confirmed coronavirus cases.
In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro ordered businesses to close and citizens to remain home in Caracas and seven other states beginning on 15 March. Food delivery, health services, transportation services and security activities are exempt from the quarantine. Information on the duration of the quarantine is currently unavailable. Thus far, there have been 17 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.