Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Republic of Congo extend COVID-19 state of health emergency to Aug. 19. Borders to reopen from Aug. 20.

  • Alert Begins: 28 Jul 2020 05:08 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 22 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: At least through Aug. 20
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions

Summary
Congolese authorities have extended the state of health emergency, set to expire July 30, through at least Aug. 19 as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). A 2000-0500 is also in place in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, and state markets must be closed three days a week - every Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday - to implement proper hygiene measures. A ban on gatherings of more than 50 people also remains in place. The wearing of masks in public places is compulsory.

Authorities have stated that border restrictions will be lifted from Aug. 20, which will likely affect international air, overland, and sea travel. The reopening of borders will be dependent on adequate screening and health measures being in place. Security forces have been deployed to enforce current restrictions. Additional restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are possible in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent months 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. 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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