Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Guinea-Bissau extend a state of emergency through May 11 to halt the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Guinea-Bissau

This alert began 26 Apr 2020 12:59 GMT and is scheduled to expire 11 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Guinea-Bissau (map)
  • Time Frame: Through May 11
  • Impact: Border closures, business disruptions; possible freight delays

Summary
Authorities in Guinea-Bissau have extended the country's state of emergency through at least May 11. The emergency declaration is in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and provides the government with powers to help curb its spread. The emergency, which was initially declared March 16, was scheduled to expire 2359 April 26. There are several movement and travel measures in force.

  • Land, sea, and air borders are closed.
  • Public transport is suspended.
  • Only essential services, such as food and medical supply, are operating.
  • Persons may only leave their homes 0700-1200 to purchase essential items.
  • 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 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.


 


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