Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Gabon ease COVID-19-related restrictions from July 1. Nightly curfew remains in place.

  • Alert Begins: 01 Jul 2020 05:21 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 29 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinitely
  • Impact: Movement and travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Gabon have eased several existing restrictions put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). From July 1, nationwide travel by all means of transportation can resume. Limited international flight services can also resume. Land and sea borders remain closed except for cases of repatriation, the transport of food, oil, gas, and freight. The nationwide curfew remains in place; however, curfew hours have been altered from 1800-0630 to 2000-0500. Hotels and restaurants with an outdoor terrace will also be allowed to reopen. Some academic activities can also resume from July 20.

Despite the easing of restrictions, social distancing measures remain in place. The wearing of protective face masks is compulsory and gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited. Places of worship and bars remain closed; sporting events and other large gatherings remain suspended. Additional restrictions are possible in the coming weeks particularly if cases of COVID-19 rise.

Background and Analysis
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
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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