Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Guyana extend cancellation of international passenger flights through at least May 1, close land borders until further notice.

This alert affects Guyana

This alert began 01 Apr 2020 11:19 GMT and is scheduled to expire 02 May 2020 01:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 1
  • Impact: International flight restrictions, business disruptions

Summary
Officials in Guyana extended the cancellation of all international passenger flights into the country through at least May 1 as part of the country's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). International passenger flights have been suspended in Guyana since March 19. International cargo and domestic flights will continue operating, as well as flights specially organized to bring Guyanese citizens back into the country. Authorities have also closed ground borders with neighboring countries for travel and have closed seaports to international vessels except for merchant ships until further notice. Ferry services have also been suspended since March 14.

Additional restrictions remain in place. Public schools have been closed nationwide until at least April 20. Authorities have also advised against any large gatherings, and have reduced personnel at government offices. Any person with a confirmed or suspected infection of COVID-19 will be quarantined in one of the four sites set up by health authorities for such purpose. Authorities in Region 2 have imposed a nightly curfew between 2000-0500, while in the city of Linden, the nightly curfew is in place between 1800-0600. In the town of Mahdia, a curfew is being enforced between 2100-0500.

Authorities may take additional measures in the coming days, especially if the spread of COVID-19 continues. The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country, with larger than usual police presence in the streets. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the government of Guyana correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (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
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. 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. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

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.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Government of Guyana - COVID-19 Updates: https://dpi.gov.gy/covid19

Government of Guyana - COVID-19 Restrictions: https://dpi.gov.gy/government-covid-19-advisories-4