Authorities in the Republic of the Congo have extended the state of health emergency through at least Nov. 7 as part of efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Restrictions that remain in place for the duration of the extension include the following:
- Commercial flights to and from the Republic of the Congo remain in operation since Aug. 24; however, flights are limited.
- Those arriving into the country, except for travelers under the age of 11, must provide a negative COVID-19 test.
- Travelers departing from the country, except for travelers under the age of 11, must provide a negative COVID-19 test.
- If the test was taken less than 72 hours before arrival in the country, travelers will not be subject to another test on arrival but must quarantine for 14 days at their accommodation.
- If the test was taken more than 72 hours but less than 10 days before arrival, travelers must take a second test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days at their accommodation.
- If a test is not taken 10 days before arrival, travelers will be transferred to a hotel and tested within 48 hours. If the result is negative, travelers may move to their accommodation to complete their 14-day quarantine. If the result is positive, travelers will be moved from the hotel to a government COVID-19 management site.
- Arriving symptomatic travelers will be quarantined at a government facility and will only be released following two negative tests. Once released, they must complete a 14-day quarantine at their accommodation.
- Travelers arriving may be subject to screening and temperature checks; however, authorities do not strictly enforce this order.
- Gatherings of more than 50 people in public and private spaces are prohibited during the extension.
- A nightly 2300-0500 curfew is in place for Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire.
- Marketplaces may open five days a week in Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire and six days a week everywhere else in the country.
- All nonessential businesses, including restaurants, remain closed.
- Security personnel have increased screening measures and will be conducted throughout the country's entry and exit points.
- The wearing of facemasks is mandatory in public spaces. In Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, this includes weddings, funerals, and vigils.
- All land, river, and sea borders remain closed until further notice, except for freight transportation.
Authorities have indicated that travelers will be liable for the cost of all PCR tests taken on arrival in the country. Security forces have been deployed to enforce current restrictions. Additional amendments to 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.
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. Reconfirm all travel arrangements and ensure that all pre-arrival tests are conducted.
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.