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17 Oct 2020 | 11:52 AM UTC

São Tomé and Principe: Authorities extend state of alarm until November 15

São Toméan authorities extend state of alarm until November 15; follow authority directives



São Toméan authorities have extended the ongoing health state of emergency until at least November 15 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The state of alarm gives the government the power to implement necessary measures to limit the spread of the disease.

Bars and nightclubs remain closed nationwide until further notice. However, religious sites, markets, and team sports can operate at 50 percent capacity. Individuals are required to wear face masks in closed private and public spaces, public transportation, and schools.

International flights have resumed and all passengers arriving into or departing the country are required to present a negative COVID-19 certificate for a test which has been taken within 72 hours prior to their travel. Additional screening measures should be expected at airports.

As of Saturday, October 17, there have been 932 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in São Tomé and Principe with 15 associated fatalities. 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.


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.

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