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05 Apr 2020 | 10:04 AM UTC

Guatemala: Government bans internal travel due to COVID-19 April 5-12 /update 7

Guatemala bans internal travel across departments between April 5-12 due to COVID-19; follow authority directives

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GTM

Event

On Saturday, April 4, President Alejandro Giammattei announced additional domestic restrictions on movement to prevent further spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Effective Sunday, April 5, until Sunday, April 12, all travel across Guatemala's departments is prohibited. Additionally, all recreational activities will be barred during this period, as will the sale and consumption of alcohol.

A nationwide curfew is currently in effect until Sunday, April 12. Per the directive, all movement is restricted between 16:00 and 04:00 (local time). Exemptions will be made for essential personnel, including police, private security, medical professionals, and food delivery drivers. Grocery stores will be closed during the abovementioned hours. The curfew has been in place since Sunday, March 15. 

To date, there are more than 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with two associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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 (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 COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored 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.

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 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.