Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities implement travel restriction for Greater Libreville, Gabon, likely from April 8 to stem the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Gabon

This alert began 06 Apr 2020 12:50 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Severe travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Gabon will extend restrictions in Greater Libreville in the coming days, according to a government announcement April 3. The measures will reportedly come into force April 8. Officials will suspend travel between Owendo, Libreville, Akanda, and Ntoum and the rest of the country as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A nightly curfew also remains in place across Gabon as of April 6 in response to health risks posed by COVID-19. The curfew, enacted March 22, runs 1930-0600. Emergency and essential services will likely remain operational for the duration of the restrictions and curfew. Restrictions are likely to remain in place through April, and officials could extend them further.

Other measures enacted in Gabon include the closure of all land, air, and sea borders and the prohibition of gatherings of 10 or more persons. Cargo and freight transports could be subjected to these restrictions, though essential goods may be allowed following the heightened screening.

Background and Analysis
Gabon's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally 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
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.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Ministry of Health (French): www.sante.gouv.ga