Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Guinea-Bissau downgrade COVID-19 response to state of calamity Sept. 9. Regional and international flights ongoing.

Alert Begins 09 Sep 2020 10:54 AM UTC
Alert Expires 08 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

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

Summary
Authorities in Guinea-Bissau have downgraded the country's state of emergency to a state of calamity Sept. 9. The state of calamity will be in place through at least Dec. 8 as part of the government's efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The new directive follows repeated extensions of the country's state of emergency and the gradual lifting of some of the associated restrictive measures.

International passenger flights have been allowed to resume in recent weeks and although flights are limited, humanitarian, medical, and cargo flights have continued. All travelers intending on entering the country will only be permitted entry on the provision of a negative COVID-19 test. Travelers without a test certificate will be quarantined for 14 days. Land borders have been open since May.

The government has also announced some revisions to previously imposed internal restrictions:

 

  • Public transport can operate at 50-percent capacity.

 

  • The wearing of facemasks is mandatory in public.

 

  • Public gatherings must not exceed 25 participants.

 

  • Nightclubs, gyms, and cultural sites remain closed.

 

  • Inter-regional travel can continue with no restrictions.

 


All restrictions are subject to amendment, and relaxed measures could be reimposed at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the government have been driven by the need to allow economic recovery in the wake 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 WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Reconfirm all transportation. Consider deferring nonessential travel to Guinea-Bissau for the duration of the restrictions. Follow all official directives. Abide by national health and safety measures. 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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