Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Essential international flights to resume in Cape Verde Aug. 1. Easing of COVID-19 restrictions to continue through October.

  • Alert Begins: 31 Jul 2020 02:11 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 18 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Authorities have stated that limited, essential international flights will resume in Cape Verde Aug. 1. The flights will go between Portugal and Nelson Mandela International Airport (RAI), Praia and Cesaria Evora International Airport (VXE), Sao Vicente. Reasons for travel include illness, essential business, education, and returning diplomats and their family members. Officially, Cape Verde's borders remain closed until further notice. Domestic flights resumed across Cape Verde July 15 as part of the continued easing of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. Travelers to and from the disease epicenters of Santiago and Sal will need to present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before travel.

Services will be run by TAP Air Portugal, Azores Airlines (SATA), and Cabo Verde Airlines. Despite the resumption of essential air travel, departure and arrival is likely to be subject to the presentation of a negative COVID-19 test taken several days before planned travel. The possible quarantine or isolation of travelers is currently unclear. Cargo and humanitarian transport continue to face heightened screening measures. Authorities have also stated that cultural and sporting events will resume Oct. 31.

While the state of emergency restrictions have been relaxed across much of Cape Verde, some measures remain in place on Santiago and Sal, where cases of COVID-19 continue to be reported. Bans on the operations of bars and access to beaches remain in place.

Background and Analysis
Cape Verde was one of the first African countries to relax measures to halt the spread of COVID-19 since the WHO declared the disease a pandemic March 11. The country's state of emergency expired on the island of Santiago May 29, after similar measures had been lifted on other islands weeks before. 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.

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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