Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Sao Tome and Principe extend state of emergency measures April 17 through May 1 due to COVID-19.

This alert affects Sao Tome And Principe

This alert began 21 Apr 2020 12:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 1
  • Impact: Heightened security, transport and business disruptions; possible health screenings, shipping delays, protests

Summary
Authorities in Sao Tome and Principe have extended an ongoing state of emergency, as part of efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), from April 17 through at least May 1. The extension allows authorities to keep measures such as the ban on incoming foreign travelers and social-distancing measures. Maritime and flight restrictions remain in place, and all foreign travelers have been prohibited from entry until further notice. 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. Commercial repatriation is currently unavailable. The original state of emergency was declared March 20.

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 days in response to the spread of COVID-19. Sao Tome and Principe has not reported any cases of the disease.

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