On Tuesday, April 14, authorities announced that the state of emergency, originally supposed to end of Wednesday, April 15, will be extended until Thursday, April 30, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. As such, the country will remain under quarantine and the free movement of individuals and vehicles between districts remains banned to all but essential services for the duration of the state of emergency. Individuals are to remain in their place of residence at all times although exceptions are made for essential reasons such as for medical care and buying essential goods. Furthermore, all facilities except for supermarkets and hospitals are to remain closed.
Additionally, authorities announced that the use of protective face masks and gloves is mandatory in all public spaces nationwide as of Wednesday, April 15. Anyone not complying with the new measure is liable to be sanctioned by authorities.
Previously, on Friday, March 13, Equatorial Guinea announced the closure of its land borders with Cameroon and Gabon as well as the suspension of all commercial international flights.
As of Thursday, April 16, there are 51 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.