Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in French Guiana extend travel, movement, and business restrictions through at least May 11 to curb the spread of coronavirus.

This alert affects French Guiana

This alert began 15 Apr 2020 14:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): French Guiana (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 11
  • Impact: Movement and travel restrictions

Summary
Authorities in French Guiana have extended movement restriction measures in the territory through at least May 11, following the measures imposed by the French national government in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to obtain basic goods, to attend a medical issue that cannot be solved remotely, to assist a family member in need, and to perform physical activity individually within one km (0.6 miles) from their home and for a maximum of one hour a day. People working in essential businesses and services are also allowed to travel to their workplaces.

Authorities also extended through May 11 restrictions for travelers entering French Guiana. Only flights from France and French Caribbean territories continue to operate, and only those with a compelling family or personal reason, medical emergencies, or essential professional tasks are allowed to travel. Anyone entering French Guiana will be taken to a quarantine facility and must remain there for at least 14 days. Cargo flights and vessels are exempted.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the government in French Guiana are similar to actions adopted by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

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.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Government of French Guiana: www.guyane.gouv.fr