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28 May 2020 | 12:28 PM UTC

Angola: Government replaces state of emergency with state of calamity from May 26 /update 9

Angola News Alert

Angolan government replaces COVID-19 state of emergency with a state of calamity and begins to ease restrictions from May 26; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 5/28/2020, 12:00 AM until 6/27/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Luanda). COUNTRY/REGION Angola

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Event

Following the end of the country's state of emergency at midnight (local time) on Monday, May 25, the Angolan government has introduced a state of calamity from Tuesday, May, 26, until further notice. Under the state of calamity, some measures which have been in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since the state of emergency was imposed on March 28, will remain while others will be gradually eased. Existing quarantine measures in Luanda will remain in place until at least June 9. Under the quarantine measures a sanitary cordon can be established preventing the entry and exit of residents whenever the epidemiological situation requires it. Citizens are urged to stay at home where possible, but some commercial activities will be allowed to resume, under certain health conditions. Permitted capacities in work places will gradually increase in incremental phases between May 26 and July 27.

As of May 26, restaurants will be allowed to reopen at lunchtime between Monday and Saturday and until 22:30 from June 8. Establishments must ensure diners are spaced two meters (6 ft) apart, tables are limited to four people, and the restaurant is under 50 percent capacity. Markets and street vendors can operate between 06:00 and 15:00, with buyers and sellers required to wear face masks and maintain social distance. Informal markets with a large concentration of people are prohibited. Hotels may reopen but temperature checks will be mandatory at the entrance and stringent cleaning policies must be adhered to. Nightlife establishments remain closed until further regulations are approved.

Recreational, cultural, and leisure activities will resume in three phases. From June 8, museums, theaters, monuments, exhibitions, fairs, and art galleries will be able to operate. Libraries will reopen on July 13, and cinemas from July 31. In all cases rooms will be limited to 50 percent capacity, face masks will be mandatory, and social distance must be maintained.

All commercial flights to and from Angola have been suspended indefinitely since March 20 and Angola's borders remain closed as of Thursday, May 28. However, under the new state of calamity Angolan nationals and foreign residents can now return, subject to medical checks.

Under the COVID-19 containment measures, at least five people have been killed by security forces enforcing the restrictions since they began on March 28. In the latest incident, two people, including a union official, were shot dead by police in Luanda on May 26. These incidents have led human rights organizations to criticize the police over the excessive use of force during the lockdown.

As of May 28, there have been 71 confirmed cases of COVID-19 recorded across the country, with four 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). 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 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 general risk of COVID-19 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 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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