Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Cotonou, Benin

Location:  Benin 

Event: Benin has confirmed six cases of COVID-19 within its borders.

Beginning Monday, March 30, the Government of Benin will establish a health cordon around the municipalities of Cotonou, Abomey-Calavi, Allada, Ouidah, Sèmè-Podji, Porto-Novo, Akpro-Missérété, and Adjarra in order to isolate them from the rest of the country and contain the spread of COVID-19.  This policy will be in effect through Monday, April 13.

During this time, travel in and out of the health cordon will be prohibited except for emergencies. Within the cordon, public transportation will be suspended and taxis and motorcycle taxis will be required to abide by strict passenger limits; bars and nightclubs will be closed; gatherings of more than ten people will be banned; people will be required to maintain a distance of at least one meter (three feet) from one another; markets, shops, and other merchants will be allowed to remain open but service may be limited.  Beninese police and military will enforce these measures and will establish checkpoints to control movements in and out of the cordon.

Visit the Government of Benin’s COVID-19 website or call the Government’s COVID-19 hotline at 51 02 00 00 / 51 04 00 00 for additional information on these new measures.

In accordance with local public health recommendations, the U.S. Embassy Cotonou has reduced operations to emergency services only from March 30 to April 13.  U.S. citizens with emergencies should contact American Citizen Services at or call +229 21 36 75 00. Those seeking emergency visa assistance should email

 Traveling to Benin

All travelers arriving in Benin will be required to self-isolate in a government-designated quarantine facility for a period of 14 days.  Non-Beninese travelers will incur the cost of the stay.

 Departing Benin

As of March 29, 2020, Ethiopian Airlines is the only commercial carrier serving Cotonou’s Cadjehoun Airport with a regularly scheduled flight. Air France has offered a specially scheduled flight on April 2 from Cotonou to Paris with priority for French citizens. U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to work with Ethiopian Airlines or Air France immediately to make travel arrangements while flights are available.

The Department of State is not currently organizing an evacuation of American citizens from Benin. However, in the event that opportunity becomes available, we are asking you to let us know now if you are interested in being contacted. Please send an email to  with the subject line “Return Travel to the U.S.” Please include the following information for each U.S. citizen, and each U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident guardian accompanying minor U.S. citizen children, in your family or group.

  • Full name as it appears on your passport
  • Citizenship (only for U.S. Lawful Permanent Residents)
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number/LPR Card Number
  • Date of passport/LPR Card issuance and expiration
  • Email address and contact phone number
  • Current location
  • Desired onward destination in the United States

We will contact you if a repatriation flight is being arranged and provide you with logistical information, including its cost per seat.  It is important to note that these seats are traditionally offered at charge on a first-come, first-serve basis to U.S. citizens and space permitting, for qualifying non-citizen dependents.  Private American citizens seeking to depart are required to sign a promissory note and will be billed at a later date for the cost of the flight.

Actions to Take:

  • Review the Global Level 4 Health Advisory advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to COVID-19 and take into account that emergency medical care may not be available anywhere within Benin.
  • Follow all government and law enforcement procedures and instructions.
  • Check with your airlines regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.
  • Make plans to depart Benin without U.S. Government assistance or, if remaining in Benin, prepare to shelter in place for an indefinite period of time.
  • Consult the CDC website for the most up-to-date information.
  • Visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 for information on conditions in Benin.
  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.