On Wednesday, April 1, authorities officially declared a state of emergency for the whole country to be in place until Friday, April 17, in an effort to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in the country.
According to local media sources, a series of measures including significant restrictions on movement throughout the country have been in place since the decree was drafted on Saturday, March 28. All citizens have been instructed to remain at home unless they need to carry out essential activities such as buying goods or other essential items, going to work (if unable to work from home), hospitals, or health centers, caring for an individual, and walking pets.
Additionally, government officials announced that there are no commercial flights out of Cape Verde, and all inter-island flights have been suspended until at least April 17. 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 Thursday, April 2, there have been six 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.
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