Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: Authorities in Sao Tome and Principe extend state of calamity for a further 15 days from Aug. 1. COVID-19 measures to remain in place.

  • Alert Begins: 31 Jul 2020 11:57 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 17 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • 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 have extended the country's state of calamity through at least Aug. 15. The extension has been described as a precaution against coronavirus disease (COVID-19); regular domestic and international travel have resumed in Sao Tome and Principe under the country's third stage of easing measures, July 16-31. Travelers arriving in Sao Tome and Principe must present a negative COVID-19 test taken up to 72 prior to travel. Travelers without proof or displaying symptoms may face quarantine measures or be subject to a test at the port of arrival.

Authorities had initially downgraded the country's state of emergency to a state of calamity June 16, as part of continuing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. As part of the extension, the government has emphasized the mandatory use of face masks in all public areas. Social distancing and proper hygiene methods must also be adhered to, and a ban on large gatherings remains in place.

All measures are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews; further details on the easing of restrictions are likely in the coming weeks as authorities introduce other phases of their COVID-19 response plan.

Background and Analysis
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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