Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, and Saint Martin restrict internal movements through mid-April.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Guadeloupe
  • Martinique
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Barthelemy

This alert began 01 Apr 2020 11:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 21:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, and Saint Martin (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least mid-April
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in the French overseas territories in the Caribbean have implemented movement restriction measures in each territory through at least mid-April, in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is in addition to the earlier restrictions on commercial passenger flights in the region. Provisions will be made for repatriations, essential services, and for health and sanitation reasons. Cargo aircraft will continue to operate.

Guadeloupe:

All movements are prohibited between 2000-0500 in Baie-Mahault, Pointe-a-Pitre, Les Abymes, Saint Anne, Basse-Terre, and Sainte-Rose communes through April 15. Emergency services are exempt. All passenger flights to Point-a-Pitre have been suspended through April 18. All flights between Guadeloupe and metropolitan France will be suspended through April 22. All persons arriving at the Guadeloupe islands will be subject to strict confinement measures.

Martinique:

A 2000-0500 curfew has been imposed from April 1. Public health services are exempt. All passenger flights at Martinique Aime Cesaire International Airport (FDF) have been suspended until further notice. All flights between Martinique and metropolitan France will be suspended through April 22. All maritime transportation and cruise calls have been suspended.

Saint Barthelemy:

A general lockdown is being enforced by security personnel, which prohibits all nonessential movements through April 15. Outside activities are limited to one hour a day, within a 1-mile radius of one's home. All passenger flights have been suspended through April 15. All flights between Saint Barthelemy and metropolitan France will be suspended through April 22. Private flights have also been suspended.

Saint Martin:

A general lockdown is being enforced by security personnel, which prohibits all nonessential movements through April 15. Outside activities are limited to one hour a day, within a 1-mile radius of one's home. Ground travel between Saint Martin and Sint Maarten is prohibited, except for medical emergencies and if telework is not possible and authorization has been approved. All passenger flights at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) have been suspended through April 15. All flights between Saint Martin and metropolitan France will be suspended through April 22.

The local governments are likely to expand or extend their preventative measures and movement restrictions over the coming days and weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures are similar to actions taken 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. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

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.

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 Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Government of France - COVID-19 Information: www.gouvernement.fr/info-coronavirus