Human Rights

Libya: Curfew Imposed On Citizens to Curb Spread of Coronavirus

North Africa

The administration controlling eastern Libya has imposed a curfew in the region in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

Last week, the political authorities controlling eastern Libya announced a decision to impose a curfew lasting from 6pm to 6am in the city of Benghazi, in the hope of limiting social interactions and preventing an outbreak of the coronavirus.

Although Libya is yet to have any confirmed cases of coronavirus, the rival governments in Tripoli (western Libya) and Tobruk (eastern Libya) have each begun to enforce a series of preventative measures.

Security and emergency personnel were excluded from the ban, and they now constitute the only people in the empty streets of Benghazi. Security services and Libyan National Army armoured vehicles deployed all of their units to public areas, in order to enforce the new measures.

“The Interior Ministry and security services are fully cooperating with us, and there is coordination between us. The situation is very good and there are no problems, and we have thankfully not recorded any incidents thus far,” said Captain Abdelhamid Alajl of the Military Police.

Some people, whose work is required overnight, are still permitted to use public roads during the curfew. This is predominantly those who work in the health sector.

“Most doctors have identification cards, such as those working in a government or private hospitals. There is no problem with the security forces or with the police deployed on the roads,” said Ehab al-Sultani, a doctor at the Libyan International Hospital.

Last week, the Government of National Accord (GNA) declared a state of emergency in Libya. All borders and airports were closed, and schools and restaurants were shut down. The GNA’s Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj, also announced that his government had allocated over $360 million to support the health system should an outbreak occur.

These preventative measures have been put in place to protect Libya’s health system. The National Centre for Disease Control in Libya has stressed the country is not in a position to deal with the fallout of an outbreak, highlighting a lack of financial resources and infrastructure within hospitals as the primary problems the health system faces.