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17 May 2020 | 04:35 AM UTC

Congo: Authorities extend curfew and border closures until May 31 /update 5

Congo News Alert

Congolese authorities extend overnight curfew and border closures until May 31 amid COVID-19 pandemic; abide by government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/17/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/31/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Brazzaville). COUNTRY/REGION Republic of the Congo

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Event

Congolese authorities announced on Saturday, May 16, that the current nationwide overnight curfew between 20:00 and 05:00 (local time) and border closures, except for cargo flights and vessels, would be extended until Sunday, May 31, to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the country. Only individuals who provide essential goods and services will be exempt from the curfew.

The country has been divided into two geographic zones that will gradually reduce COVID-19 restrictions at different rates. Zone one is called the active circulation zone, which comprise of Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, while zone 2 is described as a non-active circulation zone and comprise of the remaining ten departments. Non-essential travel in and out of both Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire is restricted, while in zone 2, travel between other departments can resume from Monday, May 18. In addition, the resumption of normal economic activity will be allowed in zone 2 as long as social-distancing rules are followed.

Other restrictive measures will remain in place until at least May 31. Domestic flights remain suspended, masks are compulsory for people in public places, and local public transportation may be allowed to operate in zone 2 at a limited capacity.

As of May 16, 391 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country and 15 associated deaths. 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 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.

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 non-essential 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. 

 

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