Mauritania reported its first confirmed COVID-19 case on March 14, 2020.The COVID-19 crisis was met early with strict containment measures that help limit cases and fatalities, including suspension of all commercial flights into and from the country; closure of all land borders except for the transportation of goods; closure of schools, universities, and non-essential businesses, such as restaurants. Non-essential interregional movements of people and the Friday prayer were also suspended. A curfew was imposed throughout the country from 9 pm to 6am. The authorities stepped up imports of medical equipment and medicines.
Reopening of the economy. In May 2020, the government lifted several restrictions, including by opening most businesses, relaxing the curfew, and reauthorizing Friday prayer; with the latter measure being rescinded in mid-May until end-June following the spike in new infections. In September 2020, all the remaining restrictions were removed. However, some restrictions were subsequently re-imposed, following the gradual increase of new COVID-19 cases in November with the Health Minister alerting the population of a potential second wave. In particular, the government instructed (i) the closure of all schools and universities for two weeks; (ii) strict minimum presence of civil servants in the offices; and (iii) the suspension of public ceremonies. As a result, the numbers of new cases and deaths declined and most of the restrictions were lifted. Mauritania launched its vaccination campaign on March 25, 2021 with the aim to vaccinate about 2.677.870 people (about 63 percent of its population). It received approximately 448.000.000 doses from the Covax initiative, China and the UAE so far, of which about 28.519 doses were administered as of May 22, 2021 and 6.410 people are fully vaccinated. Following the uptick in new Covid-19 cases, the authorities have updated their vaccination and testing strategies and reimposed a curfew at midnight to prevent a third wave.