Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities extend state of health emergency measures through at least May 11 across Gabon to curb spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Gabon

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 09:48 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: At least through May 11
  • Impact: Movement and travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Gabon have extended state of health emergency measures nationwide through at least May 11 to halt the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). All land, sea, and air borders are closed, except for the transport of essential goods. A curfew is in effect 1800-0600 nightly. Social gatherings of more than 10 people are banned, and the use of face masks in public is compulsory.

Travel restrictions are also in place in Libreville and environs until further notice. Conditions as part of the measure have been relaxed April 27, with authorities allowing some nonessential businesses to reopen. Travel outside Greater Libreville - Libreville, Owendo, Akanda, Ntoum, and Pointe Denis - is still banned. Changes to the measures are possible in the coming days.

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. Clashes are possible between police and persons not complying with regulations. Significant domestic transport and commercial disruptions are likely through mid-May.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures is likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, officials may reimpose restrictions or extend them further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. 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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