On Thursday, April 16, authorities extended an ongoing state of emergency in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country. For the islands of Boa Vista, Santiago, and Sao Vicente, the state of emergency will be in place until Saturday, May 2, while for the islands of Santo Antão, São Nicolau, Sal, Maio, Fogo, and Brava, it is expected to remain in place until Sunday, April 26.
Meanwhile, all citizens have been instructed to remain at home unless they need to carry out essential activities such as buying essential goods, going to work (if unable to work from home) or medical facilities, caring for an individual as well as their walking their pets.
Additionally, no commercial flights are operating out of Cape Verde, and all inter-island flights remain suspended until further notice. According to local authorities, the only exception to the ban on inter-island movement is for those who are returning home to another island after being unable to travel due to the state of emergency. Those requesting this exception will, however, be tested.
The Cape Verdean authorities have also closed all sea borders. Nonessential businesses and public venues have also closed and local public transportation will operate at a reduced level of service.
As of Monday, April 20, there is 58 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Cape Verde and one associated fatality. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.
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 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.
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.