Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Guinea-Bissau extend a state of emergency through June 10 to halt the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Guinea-Bissau

This alert began 26 May 2020 11:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Guinea-Bissau (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Border closures, business disruptions; possible freight delays

Summary
Authorities in Guinea-Bissau have extended the country's state of emergency through at least June 10. The emergency declaration is in response to the increasing number of cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) across the country. The emergency, which was initially declared March 16, was scheduled to expire 2359 May 26. The declaration provides the government with powers to help curb the spread of the disease. There are several movement and travel measures in force.

  • Land, sea, and air borders are closed.
  • 2000-0600 nationwide nightly curfew in place.
  • Public transport is suspended.
  • Only essential services, such as food and medical supply, are operating.
  • Persons may only leave their homes 0700-1400 to purchase essential items.
  • Public gatherings are banned.


Cargo transportation is reportedly unaffected; however, disruptions due to increased screenings, are likely. All restrictions are subject to amendment or extension at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks 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 WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Guinea-Bissau faces an ongoing political crisis. The action taken by the government of Umaro Sissoco Embalo is also likely an attempt to secure his contested position as president; widespread adherence to the restrictions would confirm Embalo's de facto presidency.

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.


Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center