Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Guinea-Bissau reopen borders May 27. State of emergency remains in place through June 10 to halt the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Guinea-Bissau

This alert began 28 May 2020 15:32 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: Business disruptions; possible freight delays

Summary
Authorities in Guinea-Bissau have reopened the country's borders, May 27, following months of closure as part of efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Travelers will only be allowed entry on the provision of a negative COVID-19 test result; it is currently unclear how this measure will affect air, maritime, and overland international travel. The government also extended the country's state of emergency through at least June 10. The extension of the state of emergency provides the government with powers to help curb the spread of the disease.

There are several movement and travel measures in force:

  • A 2000-0600 nationwide nightly curfew is in place.
  • Public transport can operate 0700-1800.
  • 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.


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 have been driven by the need to maintain the economy in the wake of COVID-19. More than 1,100 cases of the disease have been confirmed across Guinea-Bissau. 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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