The first confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported on April 6, 2020. With the help of the WHO, a field hospital was established in mid-April, and a lab started to function in mid-June. The state of emergency first declared on March 17. Economic conditions have deteriorated since the introduction of confinement measures. Real GDP is expected to contract by about 6 percent in 2020 due to weak external demand and pandemic-containment measures.
Reopening of the economy. The government moved from a state of emergency to a state of alert in October, in the final phase of reopening the economy. The country reopened hotels, restaurants, commercial flights, and extended the operation of commerce and public service to normal hours. They also started in-person classes at schools and universities, while taking steps to ensure social distancing and prevent re-emergence of the virus. However, there was a resurgence of the virus in the first two months of 2021. The authorities announced further containment measures at end-February and since then, the number of cases has declined sharply. Vaccinations, supported by the WHO COVAX program, began on March 15, 2021.