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03 Apr 2020 | 04:35 PM UTC

Guinea-Bissau: Nationwide state of emergency in effect as of April 3 due to COVID-19 /update 1

Nationwide state of emergency in effect across Guinea-Bissau as of April 3 due to COVID-19; abide by government directives

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GNB

Event

As of Friday, April 3, a state of emergency is in effect across Guinea-Bissau amid the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). According to Western diplomatic reports, restrictive measures have been introduced to prevent further spread of the virus, including the closure of all land and sea borders and commercial air links. Public transport has also been suspended, while only essential shops remain open, including food and medical stores. Bissau-Guinean authorities have also set up a coronavirus hotline that provides information and advice on the outbreak.

To date, there are nine confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country. Further international spread of the virus is 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 (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 quarantine 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.

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 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.