Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in French Guiana increase restrictions on travelers, maintain movement and business restrictions through at least April 15.

This alert affects French Guiana

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 12:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): French Guiana (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 15
  • Impact: Movement and travel restrictions, transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in French Guiana have increased restrictions and screenings for travelers arriving in the territory through at least April 15 as part of the government's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials will ban air travelers arriving at Cayenne's Felix Eboue Airport (CAY) from traveling to other areas of the territory for 14 days since arrival. They will also go through a health screening at the airport. Officials announced the opening of quarantine facilities for people displaying flu-like symptoms if they do not have the capacity to do it at their homes.

Additional restrictions remain in place until at least April 15, including a nightly curfew 2100-0500. During this time, people should remain home except to engage in essential activities, such as seeking healthcare. Officials have also ordered residents to stay at their homes except to travel to and from their places of employment, purchase essential supplies such as food, obtain medical care, or to travel for family reasons such as caring for children or the elderly. The measures also allow people to briefly leave their homes during daytime hours to engage in outdoor activities such as walking.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order 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): who.int

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