Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Guyana modify and extend measures to stem the spread of COVID-19 through June 3. Nightly 1800-0600 curfew remains in effect.

This alert affects Guyana

This alert began 03 May 2020 00:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 03 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Authorities in Guyana have modified and extended emergency measures to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through at least June 3; the nightly 1800-0600 nationwide curfew will remain in effect.

Under the regulation, grocery stores and supermarkets, fuel stations, postal and shipping services, funeral homes, and services necessary for the maintenance of homes and vehicles, and financial institutions, including banks, may operate 0600-1700. Companies such as waste management firms, hotels, companies operating in the oil and gas sector, mining and petroleum development operations, forestry operations, telecommunications providers, freight services, port operators, transportation companies, construction services, and food manufactures and distributors may be open at any hour. All persons traveling to and from work at an authorized business must carry a government identification and an employer-issued identification with them and present them to security personnel on demand. Furthermore, businesses must ensure that all customers and employees wear masks while inside the establishment and maintain at least 1.8 meters (six feet) between each other.

All other businesses must remain closed unless their employees can work exclusively from home. The measure also gives local governments the authority to recommend to the national government the closure of any mining or forestry operation should it determine that the operation poses a public health threat.

Additionally, officials in Guyana have extended the cancellation of all international flights into the country through at least June 3. Cargo and medical evacuation flights may continue under the regulation, as may flights arriving in Guyana solely for refueling purposes. Authorities have also closed ground borders with neighboring countries for travel and seaports to international vessels, except for merchant ships, until further notice. Ferry services also remain suspended since March 14. Domestic travel by land, sea, and air is strictly limited to travel for governmental purposes and travel to obtain or provide essential goods and services. No vehicle, vessel, or aircraft on domestic travel may exceed 50 percent of its standard maximum capacity.

Health authorities will quarantine any person with a confirmed or suspected infection of COVID-19 in one of the four sites set up for such purpose. Officials may take additional measures in the coming days, especially if the spread of COVID-19 continues. The restrictions in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country, with a higher-than-normal police presence in the streets. All measures 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.


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