Cape Verdean authorities have extended the national state of calamity for the islands of Santiago and Fogo through at least Saturday, November 14, in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Authorities also announced that from Thursday, November 5, face masks will be required for all individuals nationwide to wear in public places. Under the state of calamity, social distancing measures will remain in place, including the mandatory use of face masks in public spaces. Bars and open-air cafes are permitted to sell alcohol until 21:00 (local time), however, nightclubs are closed and social gatherings are banned. Restaurants, cafes, and food stalls are required to close at 22:00. Shops and stores may operate until 19:30, excluding pharmacies and bread shops which may operate until 21:00. Religious ceremonies are permitted with one-third capacities in establishments and individuals are required to wear face masks, observe social distancing, and will likely undergo temperature screening.
Other islands remain under a state of contingency. Must businesses are operational; however, restrictions remain in place including limitations on operating hours. Social distancing regulations and hygiene measures should continue to be observed. Operational restrictions remain at commercial, leisure, and religious premises.
Authorities announced on October 12 that the resumption of international marine and air passenger transportation into the country has resumed with immediate effect. Travelers entering the country must show a COVID-19 PCR-RT test that was administered within 72-hours of departure to gain entry to Cape Verde. Children under age seven are exempt from presenting a COVID-19 PCR-RT test result. Travelers will be screened at ports of entry and will be required to complete an online health form and an airport security tax form. Similarly, inter-island flights and maritime transport have resumed since mid-July and those traveling to the islands of Sal and Boa Vista and from Santiago and Fogo must present a negative COVID-19 screening test carried out no more than 72 hours prior to departure. An online health form must also be completed.
As of Wednesday, November 4, there have been 8944 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 95 associated fatalities in Cape Verde. 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 the 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 general risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide 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 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.