Gabonese authorities announced on Tuesday, June 30, that a number of restrictions, previously implemented to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), will be lifted or eased on Wednesday, July 1. Hotels will be permitted to reopen as well as restaurants with outdoor dining terraces. Commercial air travel may resume, with two international flights per airline per week, in addition, the resumption to travel by air, boat, and train within Gabon is also allowed. Gabon's land and sea borders, however, will remain closed to travelers, and a reduced curfew from 20:00 - 05:00 (local time) will remain in effect.
Face masks and social distancing measures are still required in public space. Gabonese authorities further announced that restrictions may be reimplemented in certain areas of the country if new COVID-19 outbreaks occur.
As of July 1, health authorities have confirmed 5394 COVID-19 cases with 42 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is 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 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.