Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Montserrat extend curfew through at least April 30, impose stricter restrictions April 13-19, to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Montserrat

This alert began 14 Apr 2020 12:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Islandwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 30
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, travel restrictions, increased security

Summary
Authorities in Montserrat have imposed a 24-hour lockdown between April 13-19 and extended a curfew through at least April 30 as part of the island's effort to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials have ordered residents to stay home and businesses to close until 2359 April 19, with the only exception of medical offices, pharmacies, and funeral homes. Commercial vessels and flights may also operate. Employees of other essential services, such as water and electricity, may only work to respond to emergencies. Grocery stores and banks will be closed. Residents are not allowed to drive their vehicles, except for an emergency, and can perform outdoor recreational activities only between 0500-0700 or 1600-1800, while staying 2 km (1.2 miles) from their homes.

Authorities will evaluate whether they should extend lockdown measures after April 19. If not, officials have said that starting April 20, and through at least April 30, some restrictions will be lifted, and additional essential businesses will be allowed to operate, including grocery stores, banks, fuel stations, and those related to water and electricity services, telecommunications, and energy. Only one person per household will be allowed out each day to purchase essential goods and conduct essential tasks. All nonessential businesses will remain closed, and a ban of gatherings of more than four people and the closure of all educational facilities will remain in force. Persons who do not comply with the curfew will be subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both.

Officials also previously banned the entry of nonresident foreigners to Montserrat. The crews of aircraft and ships, as well as the immediate family members of Monserratians, are excluded from the ban. Those who are eligible to enter must self-quarantine for 14 days. Cargo transport is not affected.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Montserrat's authorities correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19, 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. 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
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Government of Montserrat - Lockdown Order Through April 19: www.gov.ms

Government of Montserrat - Immigration Order: www.gov.ms