Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Mozambique declare COVID-19 state of calamity from Sept. 7. International flights to resume and land borders to reopen.

Alert Begins 05 Sep 2020 11:49 AM UTC
Alert Expires 01 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and travel disruptions

Summary
President Filipe Nyusi announced Sept. 4 that a coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related state of emergency, due to expire Sept. 6, would be replaced by a state of calamity for an indefinite period, from Sept. 7. The relaxation of the state of emergency, which complements an ongoing three-phase approach to resuming social and economic activity (Aug. 18-Oct. 1), is reportedly in response to a decreasing rate of COVID-19 infections. Under the order, international borders will reopen and flights will resume Sept. 7. The number of available flights, at least initially, is likely to remain limited. Cross-land border movement may also be limited, at least initially, in response to COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by neighboring countries, including South Africa. Detail on likely health screening measures at ports of entry remains unclear. Previously, travelers were required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test that is no older than 72 hours, before arriving. All arrivals were also mandated to complete a 10-day self-quarantine or self-quarantine for 14 days without a test. It is likely that these measures may remain in force initially and then be amended in the coming weeks.

Domestically, facemasks are mandatory except when conducting physical activities or for valid medical reasons. Beaches will reopen from Sept. 15 and religious gatherings, with participant limitations, will be permitted. Markets are permitted to operate 0600-1700; however, bars remain closed and entertainment gatherings are prohibited. Casinos are open. The sale of alcohol remains prohibited. Public transport is allowed with a limited number of passengers; facemasks are mandatory on public transport vehicles. Government offices have been directed to resume the processing of identification and travel documentation while schooling will gradually restart from Oct. 1. Finally, persons who have come into contact with a COVID-19 case are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Authorities are likely to regularly review and update health screening measures and restrictions in the coming weeks. An increase in cases could lead officials to increase restrictions, either nationally or in specific locations within the country.

Background and Analysis
Mozambique's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally 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 and requirements before departing. 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.


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