São Toméan authorities have extended the country's state of emergency until Monday, June 15, in efforts to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
The state of emergency, initially introduced on March 19, has been extended several times amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns. A night time curfew remains in place nationwide between 18:30 and 05:00 (local time). Public gatherings of more than four people are prohibited. All restaurants and bars remain closed, except for takeaway services. Face masks remain mandatory to wear in all public areas.
Entry to all foreigners remains banned until at least June 15 and charter flights and cruise ships are also prohibited. Nationals of São Tomé and Príncipe and foreign residents will be subject to quarantine upon arrival in the country.
As of June 2, there are 484 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in country, with 12 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be anticipated in the near term.
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 (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 COVID-19 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 by 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 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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