Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities clarify that movement restrictions will be imposed in Greater Libreville, Gabon, from April 12-27 to curb spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Gabon

This alert began 11 Apr 2020 08:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through April 27
  • Impact: Movement and travel disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Gabon have announced a 15-day confinement period for Libreville, Owendo, Akanda, Ntoum, and Pointe Denis from 2359 April 12-27 in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19. All residents of these areas will be required to stay at home. Exceptions will be made for persons leaving home for essential purposes, such as obtaining food or medicine. The measures were initially announced April 3 and scheduled to begin April 8; however, delays in drafting the regulations led to the measures being delayed. The security forces will be deployed to enforce the movement restrictions. The movement of essential goods is likely to be unimpeded.

The movement restrictions in Greater Libreville complement several existing measures.

  • All land, sea, and air borders are closed except for the transport of essential goods.
  • A nationwide 2000-0600 curfew is in effect.
  • Social gatherings of more than 10 people are banned.


Additional movement restrictions will likely be implemented in the coming weeks and may be extended in Greater Libreville. The 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 April.

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