Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Gabon end COVID-19-related state of emergency May 11. Travel within the Grande Libreville area eased.

This alert affects Gabon

This alert began 12 May 2020 12:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 19 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinitely
  • Impact: Movement and travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Gabon lifted the nationwide state of emergency May 11; however, the government has confirmed that several existing restrictions will remain in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

  • Travel restrictions within the Grande Libreville area have been lifted; however, travel outside Libreville to inland Gabon remains restricted.
  • Supermarkets have reopened as per normal provided social distancing measures are followed.


Other restrictions previously implemented remain in place. These include the following:

  • A nightly curfew from 1800-0600.
  • Land, air, and sea borders remain closed except for the cases of repatriation, the transport of food, oil, gas, and freight.
  • The observation of social distancing and the mandatory wearing of face masks.
  • Non-essential businesses and services remain suspended.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited.
  • Interurban traffic is suspended without special authorization.
  • Political, sporting, cultural, religious, trade union events, and national and international conferences remain unauthorized.


Additional restrictions are likely in the coming weeks, and officials could extend them in Greater Libreville. Security forces will likely aim to enforce movement restrictions. Significant domestic transport and commercial disruptions are likely through mid-May.

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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