Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Guatemala amends and extends nationwide curfew through 0500 July 27 due to COVID-19 activity. Other restrictions remain in effect.
- Alert Begins: 13 Jul 2020 08:45 AM UTC
- Alert Expires: 27 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, heightened security
Officials in Guatemala have amended and extended existing movement restrictions through 0500 July 27, as part of continuing efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The stricter nationwide curfew will be in effect 1800-0500 Mondays to Fridays, with a total lockdown from 1400 Saturdays through 0500 Mondays. Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes outside curfew hours and weekend lockdowns to make essential purchases. Markets, supermarkets, and convenience stores will operate 0600-1600. Additional vehicular restrictions will be applied to the departments of El Progreso, Escuintla, Guatemala, Izabal, Quetzaltenango, Sacatepequez, Santa Rosa, Suchitepequez, and Zacapa, effective July 13. Authorities will enforce the restrictions in these areas according to license plate numbers, with only the following vehicles allowed on roads:
- July 13, 15, 17, 21, 23, and 25 (until 1400): Vehicles with license plates ending in 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.
- July 14, 16, 18 (until 1400), 20, 22, and 24: Vehicles with license plates ending in 0, 2, 4, and 8.
- July 18-19 and July 25-26: No private vehicles allowed on the streets during expanded curfew hours.
Other existing measures will remain in place, including the closure of most public offices, private businesses, and large shopping malls; the suspension of all sporting, cultural, and religious events; and a ban on visits to retirement homes and prisons. All public transport remains suspended, but restrictions on interdepartmental travel have been lifted. Residents must use a protective mask that covers their mouth and nose while in public; failure to do so may result in a fine.
The government maintains its temporary entry ban on all nonresident foreign nationals and the suspension of all international passenger flights until further notice. Air cargo and emergency flights are exempt. Guatemalan citizens and residents are allowed to enter the country but will be subject to a 15-day quarantine. All entries and departures must be made by land through border crossings with Mexico and Belize.
Background and Analysis
Guatemala's restrictive measures are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, which the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a pandemic March 11. President Alejandro Giammattei recently announced that towns with fewer than five cases per 100,000 inhabitants could begin reopening plans; however, most of the country's major population centers do not meet this requirement. Giammettei also announced that a regional color-coded system of varying restrictions based on the number of cases per municipality which will allow some reopening, will likely take effect July 27. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, officials may tighten existing measures or reapply the relaxed restrictions. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in the relaxation of restrictions.
Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.
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.