Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Gambian authorities ease COVID-19-related restrictive measures from Sept. 18 as state of emergency expires. Further disruptions possible.

Alert Begins 18 Sep 2020 10:09 AM UTC
Alert Expires 15 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Gambian authorities have eased certain restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) after the nationwide state of emergency expired Sept. 17.

Domestic Measures
Authorities relaxed the nationwide nightly curfew Sept. 18, although its exact status remains unclear. All markets will also be allowed to operate 0600-1800. Nonessential shops can resume regular operations. However, other nonessential business closures, including restaurants, bars, pubs, night clubs, music lounges, casinos, cinemas, gyms, remain in place. Nonessential public gatherings, such as sporting events, remain banned; limited religious gatherings are permitted provided health protocols are adhered to. The use of protective facemasks is mandatory in public spaces.

International Travel
Gambia's land, air, and sea borders remain closed until further notice; the measure does not apply to freight or security personnel. International commercial flights remain suspended, though emergency and cargo services can continue to operate. All arriving passengers to Gambia must provide a negative test certificate taken up to 72 hours before arrival; travelers also face a 14-day mandatory quarantine in government-run facilities.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Gambian authorities have eased the country's restrictions as local transmission rates reportedly stabilize. Gambia's restrictions are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent months 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.

Advice
Reconfirm all travel plans. Follow all official directives. Abide by national health and safety measures. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.

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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