Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Sao Tome and Principe extend COVID-19 restrictions through at least May 17. Travel and business disruptions ongoing.

This alert affects Sao Tome And Principe

This alert began 06 May 2020 09:43 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions; possible health screenings, shipping delays, protests

Summary
Authorities in Sao Tome and Principe extended an ongoing state of emergency as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) through at least May 17. The extension allows authorities to maintain measures such as the ban on incoming foreign travelers and social distancing measures. Essential public services such as supermarkets, pharmacies, and banks will remain open 0730-1500 daily during this period.

Other restrictions remain in place, which include:

  • Airports remain closed to commercial transportation, though government-backed flights may be approved.
  • Ports are still operational and will receive freight, but workers and passengers on transporting vehicles are barred from disembarking.
  • Cruise and private vessels will be denied entry.
  • The use of facemasks is mandatory in public places.


Commercial repatriation is currently unavailable. Further restrictions may be implemented with short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government of Sao Tome and Principe correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. Officials have reported cases of COVID-19 in Sao Tome and Principe, including three associated deaths.

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.


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