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12 Nov 2020 | 01:27 PM UTC

São Tomé and Príncipe: Authorities extend state of calamity through November 30 /update 7

Authorities extend state of calamity through November 30 amid COVID-19 pandemic; follow official directives

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Event

São Tomé and Príncipe authorities have extended the state of calamity through November 30, to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Face masks remain compulsory in all public areas and when traveling in vehicles. Public transportation, including taxis and buses, are permitted to operate at two-thirds of their maximum capacity. Public gatherings at market places and churches continue to operate at 50 percent capacity.

International flights resumed in mid-July. Passengers are required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test result which has been obtained no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Additional testing may be required on arrival. Individuals may be required to quarantine for up to 14 days at a private residence or hotel, including nationals returning to the country.

As of Thursday, November 12, health authorities have confirmed a total of 962 COVID-19 cases with 16 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

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, diarrhoea, 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.

Advice

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 general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue - 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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