Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Martinique, Guadeloupe increase restrictions through April 13, 14 respectively; other measures continue in Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Guadeloupe
  • Martinique
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Barthelemy

This alert began 08 Apr 2020 11:23 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 05:00 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthelemy, and Saint Martin (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least mid-April
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in the French overseas territories in the Caribbean will likely maintain movement restriction measures in each territory through at least mid-April in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This is in addition to the earlier restrictions on commercial passenger flights in the region. Officials will make provisions for repatriations, essential services, and for health and sanitation reasons. Cargo aircraft will continue to operate.

Guadeloupe:

Officials have imposed a 2000-0500 curfew through April 15. Emergency services are exempt. All shops to close and all movements prohibited 1400 April 11-0700 April 14. The hiring of all tourist accommodation has been suspended until April 15. Authorities have suspended all passenger flights to Point-a-Pitre through April 18, and all flights between Guadeloupe and metropolitan France through April 22. All persons arriving at the Guadeloupe islands will be subject to strict confinement measures.

Martinique:

Officials have imposed a 2000-0500 curfew from April 1. Public health services are exempt. All shops to close and all movements prohibited April 12-13. Authorities have suspended all passenger flights at Martinique Aime Cesaire International Airport (FDF) until further notice, and all flights between Martinique and metropolitan France through April 22. They have also suspended all maritime transportation and cruise calls.

Saint Barthelemy:

Security personnel are enforcing a general lockdown, which prohibits all nonessential movements through April 15. Outside activities are limited to one hour a day within a 1-mile radius of one's home. Authorities have suspended all passenger flights through April 15 and all flights between Saint Barthelemy and metropolitan France through April 22. They have also suspended private flights.

Saint Martin:

Security personnel are enforcing a general lockdown, which prohibits all nonessential movements through April 15. Outside activities are limited to one hour a day within a 1-mile radius of one's home. Authorities have prohibited ground travel between Saint Martin and Sint Maarten, except for medical emergencies and if telework is not possible and officials have approved authorization. Authorities have suspended all passenger flights at Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) through April 15 and all flights between Saint Martin and metropolitan France through April 22.

The local governments are likely to expand or extend their preventative measures and movement restrictions over the coming days and weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures are similar to 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. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

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.

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
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Government of France - COVID-19 Information: www.gouvernement.fr