Severity: Critical Alert
Exit/Entry: Guinea-Bissau extends state of emergency through Aug. 24. Regional and international flights resume July 26 and Aug. 1, respectively.
- Alert Begins: 26 Jul 2020 03:22 PM UTC
- Alert Expires: 03 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
- Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
- Location(s): Nationwide (map)
- Time Frame: Indefinite
- Impact: Business and transport disruptions
President Umaro Sissoco Embalo announced the extension of the nation's state of emergency through Aug. 26 as part of the government's efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Despite the repeated extension of the emergency declaration, authorities are gradually lifting some of the associated restrictive measures. Officials have authorized the resumption of regional flights as of July 26 and international flights from Aug. 1, following an extended suspension since March. Humanitarian, medical, and cargo flights are exempt from the flight suspensions. All travelers intending on entering the country will only be permitted on the provision of a negative COVID-19 test.
The government has not announced any significant revisions to previously imposed internal restrictions, which remain unchanged as of July 26, but could be adjusted at short notice:
- Public transport can operate 0700-1800 at 50-percent capacity; taxis are limited to three passengers only.
- Closure of schools until further notice.
- Mandatory wearing of facemasks in public.
- Only essential services, such as food and medical supply, are operating.
- Persons may only leave their homes 0700-1800 to purchase essential items.
- Public gatherings are banned; no more than five people may assemble unless they are observing social distancing guidelines. No more than 10 people may attend a funeral.
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.
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.