Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Cape Verde extends state of emergency on Boa Vista and Santiago island through May 14 due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Cape Verde

This alert began 02 May 2020 22:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 14 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 14
  • Impact: Severe transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Cape Verde have extended the nation's existing state of emergency on the islands of Boa Vista and Santiago through at least 2359 May 14 as part of efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Significant restrictions will remain in place on these two islands as cases of the disease continue to be detected. Certain business and movement restrictions are also still in effect on the islands of Sao Vincente, Santo Antao, Sao Nicolau, Sal, Maio, Fogo, and Brava under the lesser "state of calamity" designation, which entered into force as these locations' respective states of emergency expired. Despite the relaxation of restrictions, authorities continue to urge residents on these islands to continue adhering to social distancing measures; all residents must wear protective face masks when outside their homes.

International travel into and out of Cape Verde remains suspended, as do all nonessential services. Severe restrictions on inter-island air and maritime travel also remain in place; however, Prime Minister Ulisses Correia e Silva informed the nation's parliament on May 2 that he was ready to re-establish inter-island air and maritime connections. Nevertheless, until the legislature officially passes new directives, residents may only travel between affected and unaffected islands upon producing results of a test showing them to be COVID-free. Cargo and humanitarian transport continues to face heightened screening measures. The country's flag carrier Cabo Verde Airlines (VR) has suspended all regular commercial operations through July 1. Authorities could adjust the nation's public health posture in response to any changes in disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Cape Verde is one of the first African countries to relax measures put in place to halt the spread of COVID-19 since the disease was declared a pandemic March 11. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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