Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Mozambique declares state of emergency, tightens preventative restrictions through April 30 due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Mozambique

This alert began 01 Apr 2020 22:58 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 03:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-related restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: Through at least 2359 April 30
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

Summary
The government of Mozambique has declared a state of emergency effective April 1 as part of the nation's efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Under the measure, which will remain in force through at least April 30, authorities will implement a series of new tighter restrictions beyond those that are already in place, including:

  • Nationwide limitations on the movement of persons and goods;
  • Restriction on travelers entering the country at any land, air, or maritime point of entry, with certain exceptions such as properly credentialed freight transporters, persons arriving for health-related reasons or for reasons in the national interest;
  • Mandatory quarantine for all persons who have traveled abroad recently or been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case;
  • Ban on public and private activities, including sporting, cultural, religious, or any other events that could draw large numbers of people;
  • Closure of entertainment establishments.


Current measures that have been in place since March 23 include the closure of all schools, suspension of entry visas, and an advisory against gatherings. Authorities have as yet released no details concerning the new measures, but plan to do so over the coming days. In his address to the nation announcing the state of emergency, President Filipe Nyusi stated that severe internal movement restrictions would not be imposed unless the country experiences a major rise in COVID-19 cases. As of March 31, Mozambique had reported eight cases of the virus with no deaths.

Significant transport and business disruptions are possible, depending on the severity of the restrictions the government actually imposes under the state of emergency. Regardless, authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measure. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

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. 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.

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
Mozambique Ministry of Health (in Portuguese): misau.gov.mz

Mozambique Government Portal (in Portuguese): www.portaldogoverno.gov.mz

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