Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Guyana impose 1800-0600 nationwide curfew through at least May 3 to stem the spread of COVID-19. Other measures remain.

This alert affects Guyana

This alert began 05 Apr 2020 07:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 3
  • Impact: Significant travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Guyana have announced a nationwide curfew 1800-0600 through at least May 3, to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials have also announced the closure of nonessential businesses; grocery stores, banks, food services, and gas stations will remain open 0600-1700 while other essential services, including hospitals and nursing homes, will remain unaffected. Authorities also banned large gatherings and have implemented strict social distancing rules for the public.

Officials in Guyana earlier extended the cancellation of all international passenger flights into the country through at least May 1. 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 also remain suspended since March 14.

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 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 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