Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Montserrat to relax business restrictions April 20-22. Full shutdown to be imposed April 23-May 1 to curb the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Montserrat

This alert began 20 Apr 2020 12:01 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Islandwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 1
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, increased security

Summary
Officials in Montserrat will ease business and movement restrictions April 20-22 to allow residents to stock up on essential goods, ahead of a total shutdown effective April 23-May 1. The measures are part of the island's effort to combat the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the total shutdown, all residents are to stay at home, except in the case of a medical emergency, and all businesses are to close. Emergency services are exempt from the order. Persons who do not comply with the order will be subject to a fine and/or imprisonment.

Authorities have implemented a shopping schedule April 20-22 for grocery stores, bakeries, fuel stations, and banks. Only one person per household will be allowed out to purchase essential goods and conduct essential tasks. Residents will be allowed to attend to such business according to the first letter of their surname:

  • Senior citizens, essential service providers, and pregnant women: April 20 from 0800-1200
  • Surnames beginning with S-Z: April 20 from 1300-1600
  • Surnames beginning with M-R: April 21 from 0800-1200
  • Surnames beginning with G-L: April 21 from 1300-1600
  • Surnames beginning with C-F: April 22 from 0800-1200
  • Surnames beginning with A-B: April 22 from 1300-1600


International movement restrictions remain in place. Officials 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 measures 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 - COVID-19 Updates: www.gov.ms