Congolese authorities announced on Tuesday, June 23, that the number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country had passed 1000. Since the first infection in the country was identified on March 14, 1087 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed by Congolese authorities, with 37 patients succumbing to the disease. Nine of the country's 12 departments have now reported COVID-19 cases, although the disease has not yet been confirmed in Niari, Plateaux, and Likouala.
The milestone comes days after the government extended the country's state of health emergency by 20 days until July 11. The state of emergency has seen tight restrictions imposed on non-essential travel, with most people prohibited from leaving their homes, and a nationwide 20:00 to 05:00 (local time) curfew. Non-essential businesses, schools, and places of worship also remain closed, and gatherings of more than 50 people banned. People are also required to wear face masks at all times in public places, with the requirement and other COVID-19 measures being vigorously enforced by security forces.
The Republic of Congo has closed its land, air, and maritime borders due to the ongoing pandemic and domestic and international commercial flights currently remain suspended. Local public transportation is only authorized to operate in some areas and at reduced capacity.
As of Wednesday, June 24, authorities have confirmed 1087 cases of COVID-19 in the Republic of Congo, with 37 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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 (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 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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